Severs' Disease

What is Severs' Disease?

Calcaneal apophysitis, previously known as Severs disease, is a very common cause of heel pain in children. Severs disease has been renamed due to the fact that the condition is not a disease! Instead an overuse condition which affects the growth plate on the heel (calcaneaus). 

Calcaneal apophysitis most often occurs in children between the ages of 8 to 14 and is more common in boys than girls.

Severs' Disease Symptoms

  • Pain or tenderness in the heel (especially squeezing edges of heel)
  • Discomfort upon walking 1st thing in morning
  • Limping, difficulty with walking
  • More pain associated with running, jumping and playing sport – during and after 

Severs' Disease Causes

Although every child goes through the stage of having an open growth plate in their heel, not every child will develop pain. A growth plate is an area of bone which is yet to have fully developed – a very normal phase of a child’s development. 
Calcaneal apophysitis is theorised to be caused as a result of children’s bones growing faster than their muscles, and as a result increasing the strain put onto the Achilles tendon heel bone. Due to the nature of the condition, certain children are more prone than others.

These can include children with:


  • Flat feet/collapsing arches
  • Heavier and taller kids are more likely to develop heel pain
  • Play high impact sports such as soccer, hockey, football etc.
  • Hard playing surfaces, lots of barefoot running, hard ground with football boots
  • Sudden increase in activity (start of sport season, adding on more commitments)
  • High volume of exercise / overdoing activities (lunch time play, rep, club sport…)
  • Poor footwear (lack of cushioning and support)

Our Senior Podiatrist Jarrod McGuinness Discusses Severs' Disease in Children

Treatment for Severs' Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis) at Elite Foot Care may include:

  • Footwear modifications
  • Activity modification (assessing the load patterns and providing recommendations to reduce injury risk)
  • Strength and conditioning programs
  • Foot orthotics to help offload the painful area and modify lower limb biomechanics
  • Calcaneal apophysitis is considered a self-limiting condition which will go away completely once the heel bone is finished developing with no long-term complications.  
However having your child avoid physical activity due to pain can create more concerning problems long-term, and as such we recommend parents allow your child to become pain free quicker, and not have to miss out on the benefits of sport! 
Don’t let your child suffer heel pain any longer, make a booking at one of our podiatry clinics in Woombye or Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. 

GET IN touch

07 5328 3588

What We Treat

Woombye Clinic

4/40 Wilson Avenue, Woombye, 4559

(Corner of Nambour Connection & Blackall Range)

Sippy Downs Clinic

19 Lakehead Drive, Sippy Downs, 4556

(Ocean Family Medicine)

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