Myths About Sever’s Disease

With fall sports in full swing, it’s about this time that we at North Jersey Podiatry begin to see more young patients in the office with a condition known as Sever’s Disease. In an effort to help inform patients and parents about this podiatric issue, we’d like to clear up some myths about Sever’s Disease.

MYTH: Sever’s Disease is a disease that affects children.

TRUTH: Sever’s Disease is not actually a disease. Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, it is an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. It strikes children roughly between the ages of 8 and 15—the time when the bones of the heels are in the process of developing.

MYTH: I don’t think my young child has Sever’s Disease because she is not complaining of heel pain.

TRUTH: Younger children are often not able to articulate exactly what is bothering them physically. If you notice your child walking in a funny way, claiming to be “tired” and not engaging in physical activities he or she normally enjoys, there’s a good chance that a foot issue is to blame. Sever’s Disease is usually characterized by pain in the heel that can be quite severe but may fade when your child is off their feet. If your child is exhibiting any unusual foot or ankle symptoms, it’s important that you make an appointment at our Wayne, NJ office for an examination by our expert podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein.

MYTH: My teen already had Sever’s Disease once. There must be another issue because there is still heel pain.

TRUTH: Sever’s Disease can recur until the bone growth in the heel is complete—usually about the age of 15. If your child participates in a sport that involves stress and pounding on the heel it’s entirely possible that it is Sever’s Disease that is still the source of the pain. If this is an ongoing problem, there are a few things that may help:

  • Decreasing or ceasing the activity that is aggravating the heel
  • Reducing time spent in cleats
  • Supporting the heel through better footwear or a custom orthotic insert for the shoes
  • Physical therapy
  • Losing weight if your child is overweight

Never ignore a child’s complaint of foot pain. If you believe your child is experiencing discomfort, contact our podiatry office today by calling: (973) 595-1555.