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Footnotes / Blog

Heel Pain in Children (Sever’s Disease)

Sunday, November 12th, 2017 Elizabeth Anthony

What is Sever’s Disease?

Inflammation of the growth plate the in the calcaneus (heel bone), is a painful condition that presents in children. It is particularly common in active children, because repetitive stress on the heel while an adolescent is growing can cause irritation. Tenderness on the back of the heel in growing children is likely Sever’s disease.


Sever’s disease presents most often in children between 8 and 15 years old.

It is often associated with a rapid growth spurt. As the bones get longer, the muscles and tendons become tighter as they cannot keep up with the bone growth.

The point at which the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel becomes inflamed and the bone starts to fragment.

Tight calf muscles may contribute by decreasing range of motion at the ankle. This results in more strain on the Achilles tendon.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Sever’s disease is a clinical diagnosis, but Xrays may be taken to view the calcaneal apophysis (growth plate on the heel). It may appear more white (sclerotic) and fragmented that one would expect on a normal Xray of a child this age.


The most important aspect of treatment is to have the child rest. A protective walking boot or cast might be utilized to decrease the pressure on the heel. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication are also helpful at decreasing the pain.

Pain is usually self limiting once growth slows, but can present again during another growth spurt.


If you have a child with heel pain, visit one of the offices of Innovative Foot and Ankle

Our licensed podiatrists are all trained in pediatric podiatry. We have four offices located throughout northern New Jersey. Our locations are in Bergen County, Union County, Hudson County and Essex County.