What is Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s disease is a condition that occurs in children during the growth spurt of adolescence, typically between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys. It is often painful but can be treated early with good results. Sever’s disease occurs when the growth plate in the heel begins to swell. Sever’s disease often occurs during the same period in a child’s growth as Osgood-Schlatter disease.
What Causes Sever’s Disease
The most common of the Sever’s disease causes is when the heel bone grows more rapidly than the muscles and tendons in the leg. The muscles and tendons become tight and put additional stress on the growth plate in the heel. When this happens, the growth plate begins to swell, becomes tender, and the child will essentially begin to feel one or more Sever’s disease symptoms. It can occur in any child as they grow, but there are some common Sever’s disease causes and risk factors that make a child more prone to the condition.
- Participation in sports and other activities that put pressure on the heel, such as basketball, track, and gymnastics.
- A pronated foot, which makes the Achilles tendon tight, increasing the strain on the growth plate of the heel.
- An arch that is flat or high, affecting the angle of the heel.
- Short leg syndrome, when one leg is shorter than the other, causing the shorter leg to pull more on the Achilles tendon in order to reach the ground.
- Obesity puts extra weight on the growth plate, which can cause it to swell.
Sever’s Disease Symptoms
One of the most obvious Sever’s disease symptoms is pain and tenderness in the back of the heel. The pain often extends down the sides and bottom as well but will end at the arch. Some other common Sever’s disease symptoms include:
- Swelling and inflammation in the heel
- Difficulty walking, running, or jumping
- Stiff feet upon waking up in the morning
- Discomfort if the heel gets squeezed
- Limping or tiptoeing, so as not to put pressure on the growth plate in the heel