Help my child’s heel pain

Sever’s Disease

What is it?

Sever’s disease is a painful bone disorder that results from inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. It is a common cause of heel pain in growing kids. It occurs during adolescence: Age 8-13 for female, 10-15 for males. It rarely occurs in older teens because the back of the heel usually finishes growing by the age of 15.


During the growth spurt of early puberty, the heel bone/calcaneus sometimes grows faster than the leg muscles and tendons. This can cause the muscles and tendons to become very tight and overstretched, making the heel less flexible and putting pressure on the growth plate. Over time, repeated stress on the already tight Achilles tendon damages the growth plate, causing the swelling, tenderness, and pain of Sever’s disease.

* A child is more at risk if they have pronated feet, flat or high arches, short leg syndrome, or if they are overweight.


Most common and most obvious is pain or tenderness in one or both heels-usually at the back. The pain might also radiate to the sides and bottom of the heel.

-swelling and redness in the heel

-difficulty walking

-discomfort in the feet in the morning

-discomfort when the heel is squeezed on both sides

-unusual gait- limping or on tiptoes to avoid putting pressure on the heel.


Most doctors are able to diagnose sever’s disease based on the symptoms. They may have an x-ray taken to rule out any fractures, but you cannot see sever’s disease on a x-ray.


Goal: pain relief!! Because the pain usually increases with activity, they will need to rest to relieve pressure on the heel bone, which will decrease pain.

-foot and leg exercises to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles and tendons

-ice to reduce swelling

-compression stocking for swelling


—Severe cases the doctor could place a cast from 2-12 weeks to immobilize the foot so that it can heal.

With proper care, it will go away within 2 weeks-2 months and doesn’t cause problems later on in life.

-Proper shoes(shock-absorbent soles, maybe shoes with open back to relieve pressure on the heel. No heavy or high heels

If your child is suffering from heel pain, call Rock and Armor at 208-917-2660 to get them headed in the right direction.


O’Brien, K. B. (Ed.). (2013, June). Sever’s Disease. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from

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