What is Severs disease?

Whilst the name might make it sound worrying, Sever’s (otherwise known as calcaneal apophysitis) is a normal part of growing up! It is characterized by pain felt in the back of the heel, worse with increased activity and first thing in the morning. It often occurs in the most active children.

During a growth spurt, the bones grow faster than the speed of muscle growth. Evidence shows that the calcaneus (heel bone) is one of the first bones to grow during puberty. This leads to increased pressure on the Achilles tendon, resulting in heel pain.


Key symptoms to look out for:

  • Pain in the back side of the heel during or following physical activity
  • Your child may have difficulty walking and running
  • Swelling and tenderness around the heel
  • Tightness of calf muscles
  • Symptoms can be present for up to 12 months and will subside


Management/ Treatment – What you and your Physio can do to help

  • Massage to reduce the tightness of the calf and plantar fascia
  • Taping techniques- Your physiotherapist can utlise rigid taping or dynamic taping to provide additional support and help to offload the irritated structures
  • Structured physiotherapy exercise program – Your physio will devise a individually tailored exercise program involving things such as calf stretching, correcting your foot biomechanics following a gait/running assessment
  • Regular Icing – Particularly after the onset of symptoms following sport, apply ice to the heel region, icing for 20mins and a time 3-4 times a day
  • Advice on activity modification

Written by Daniel Packer, Physiotherapist