Sever's Disease

heel soccer foot child
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Sever's disease is a condition that occurs in growing adolescents, usually between the ages of 9 to 14 years old (it is most common in 11 year old girls and 12 year old boys). Adolescents who have Server's disease experience pain in one or both of their heels when playing sports, and in more extreme cases even when walking.

Sever's disease occurs just before the closing of the heel bone growth plate.

At this time in the child's development, the Achilles tendon is pulling on the heel bone with a significant amount of force; this causes increasing tension on the heel bone. The result is inflammation where the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel.

While tests are not usually necessary to make a diagnosis or to guide treatment, x-rays may be abnormal and show fragmentation of the calcaneal apophysis.  This is not a problem in terms of leading to abnormal growth, but it is a sign of the condition of apophysitis.

Treatment & Prevention of Sever's

Sever's disease usually occurs when a child starts a new sport. Symptoms usually resolve with rest.  Other helpful treatments can include gentle stretching, ice application, anti-inflammatory medications, strengthening of the gastrocnemius muscle, and heel lifts.  In the most severe cases of Sever's disease, immobilization in a cast can be helpful, but this step is rarely necessary.

  Prevention is best accomplished by continuing a stretching and strengthening program.

Also Known As: Calcaneal Apophysitis

Common Misspellings: Server's Disease

Sources:

Frank JB, Jarit GJ, Bravman JT and Rosen JE. "Lower Extremity Injuries in the Skeletally Immature Athlete" J Am Acad Orthop Surg June 2007 vol. 15 no. 6 356-366

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