Heel Pain and Sever’s Disease

If your teen or preteen is complaining of heel pain, it might be Sever’s disease. No need to stress — this isn’t actually a “disease,” but rather a common type of growing pain that only lasts a few weeks or months and doesn’t leave any long-term damage. Bring them in for an appointment so we can help relieve the pain and speed their recovery.

Who Is At Risk?

Sever’s disease occurs in kids as they hit their adolescent growth spurt, usually between the ages of 8-13 for girls and 10-15 for boys.  It’s most common among active kids that run, play basketball or soccer, or do gymnastics.  Kids with flat feet, high arches, short leg syndrome, over-pronation (feet that roll inward when they walk) or who are overweight or obese also have an increased risk.

What Is Sever’s Disease?

Sever’s disease is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel, which is an area at the end of the developing bone where cartilage gradually turns into bone as kids grow.  In fact, kids grow so rapidly at this age that their muscles and tendons can’t quite keep up with their feet and legs. This leaves the muscles and tendons tight and overstretched, particularly the Achilles tendon that connects the heel to the calf muscles. In fast-growing preteen and teen athletes, it can put so much pressure on the heel’s growth plate that it swells and becomes tender.

What Does Sever’s Disease Feel Like?

The symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling or redness in the heel, and they might have difficulty walking or putting pressure on the heel.  If you notice that your child suddenly starts walking around on their toes because their heels hurt, that’s a dead giveaway.  Kids who play sports might also complain of foot pain after a game or practice.

Will It Go Away On Its Own?

As they grow, the muscles and tendons will catch up and eventually the pressure will subside along with the pain.  But in the meantime, it can become very uncomfortable.

There are several things we can do to treat Sever’s disease and ease the discomfort. Special shoe inserts, such as heel pads or cups, can act as a shock absorber, decrease pressure on the heel bone and slightly elevate the heel to relieve the pain. Elastic wraps and compression stockings can help decrease any swelling and pain. We also show kids some specific stretches that can help stretch the calf muscles and tendons on the back of the leg to reduce stress on the heel.  We might also recommend rest, applying ice, elevating the foot, and over-the-counter pain medication.

If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment


Accepted Insurance Providers

There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid or CareSource plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.