Sever’s disease—or calcaneal apophysitis—is one of the most common causes of heel pain in children and teens. It is the inflammation of the growth plate in the heel of the foot.

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What are the signs and symptoms of Sever’s disease?

  • Heel pain and tenderness
  • Mild swelling at the heel
  • Pain worsened with activity
  • Pain that is worse upon waking up
  • Limping or toe walking

What causes Sever’s disease?

  • Growth spurts during puberty
  • Exacerbated by sports or activities involving a lot of running or jumping
  • Pressure on the heel from standing too long (less common)

How is Sever’s disease diagnosed?

  • Physical exam

How is Sever’s disease treated?

Treatment depends on the extent of your child’s injury. Non-surgical options to treat Sever’s disease include:

  • I.C.E. – Rest, ice, compression and elevation
  • Activity modification or restriction
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (e.g., ibuprofen)
  • Supportive shoe inserts
  • Stretching exercises
  • Physical therapy

A short leg cast or walking boot may be used if symptoms are severe. Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan to treat your child’s injury.