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Sever's Disease

Pain, Infant and Children | May 3, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Children, Pain

Sever's Disease

Sever’s disease is a condition where pain is experienced in the heel of the foot in physically active children. This condition is also called calcaneal apophysitis. Basically meaning 'inflammation of the heel'.

Calcaneal – Relating to the calcaneus. The calcaneus is another name for the heel bone which is a large bone that forms the foundation of the rear part of the foot.

Apophysitis – an inflammation of an outgrowth, projection, or swelling, especially a bony outgrowth (spur), that is still attached to the rest of the bone. Apophysitis occurs due to excessive traction or stress most frequently affecting the calcaneus -  as seen in Sever's disease.

Sever’s disease occurs in boys more than girls between the ages of 8-15 years. It will often resolve itself in time. There are some strategies to help with symptom relief the condition.

Causes of Sever's Disease

Simply put, Sever’s disease is caused from repetitive stress to the heel. It is thought to be due to repetitive microtrauma from increased traction by the Achilles tendon on its insertion site. 

Causes of Sever's DiseaseThis can happen from anything that involves a lot of heel movement. It can be associated with starting a new sport, or the start of a new season of sport. 

Since bones and tendons are still growing in children the risk of damage is greater.

This disease is most often see in children in periods of rapid growth during which muscles and tendons become tighter as the bones become longer and larger.
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Sever disease is the most common aetiology of heel pain in growing children.

Most overuse injuries in children involve the lower limbs, especially the knees, ankle and feet. The most typical are Osgood-Schlatter disease, which affects the knee, and Sever's disease; in both conditions, the tendons remain relatively short during the pubescent grown spurt.
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Symptoms and Diagnosis

The main symptom is pain in the heel that occurs usually after physical activity, such as walking, running or jumping.

Causes of Sever's DiseaseSever's Disease is similar to other conditions affecting the heel with diagnosis bases mostly on clinical examination. This is based on location of pain and in the absence of associated symptoms indicating a systemic disease.

Other causes of heel pain include Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spur, Heel bump, Achilles Tendinopathy, Heel neuritis and Heel bursitis.

With Sever’s disease, there is localized tenderness and swelling at the site of insertion of the Achilles tendon.

The gastrocnemius muscle or the soleus muscle (the muscles of the calf) might also be tight. Biomechanical checks should also be done to check for abnormalities.

Management of the condition

Management consists of modifying activity till the child is pain free. This condition usually settles within 6 – 12 months but occasionally this condition may last for up to 2 years. As with most soft tissue injuries the first concern is to settle the injury. This can be done with basic first aid of rest and ice.

  • Rest – stop any sport or activity that maybe causing the condition
  • Ice – apply ice for 20-30 minutes, every 2-4 hours especially if there is heat and swelling. This is an affective first aid treatment for acute injury
  • Support – A heel cup or orthotic may help to protect and support the foot till it settles down

Your healthcare practitioner or physiotherapist will be able to suggest the best management for Sever’ disease such as:

  • Massage
  • Correcting exercise – Strengthening exercises for the ankle plantar flexors (the muscles of the lower leg that act on the ankle) once there is no more pain
  • Foot wear - Shoes with the appropriate amount of support for the whole foot is considered the most important treatment of pain

Natural therapies to help with pain and inflammation


Magnesium is essential for the regulation of muscular contractions and is the best thing to use for muscle relaxation. Magnesium is quickly used by the body in exercise as muscles are continuously worked. Magnesium can be taken orally by children or applied to the body as an oil or cream for pain relief. Another suggestion is magnesium foot soak or bath.

Natural therapies to help with pain and inflammationVitamin D

Whilst there is limited information on nutrients and Sever’s Disease there is a connection with low levels of Vitamin D levels in children with growing pains.

Vitamin D is needed for many processes in the body but it’s main role is promotes normal bone formation and mineralization.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric has had many studies done as a spice beneficial in its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions which may be helpful for pain relief. Turmeric can be taken in powdered or liquid form and may be added to food.


Excess weight can add to heel pain. If children are reducing their exercise due to heel pain, be sure they are not exercising their mouth by chewing extra non-nutritious calories and keep the diet healthy for efficient healing.

Foods to include:

  • Fish – salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna
  • Fresh fruits – berry varieties, oranges
  • Vegetables – especially greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Olive oil

Foods to reduce:

  • Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and pastries
  • Margarines
  • Meats
  • Carbonated drinks


Natural therapies to help with pain and inflammationMaintain good flexibility through stretching exercise

Wear good fitting foot wear with shock absorbing soles

Avoid activities on hard surfaces

To sum up

Sever’s disease is the most common cause of heel pain in growing children and is usually managed conservatively with anti-inflammatory medications and restriction of physical activity.  Australia’s best online discount chemist


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