Sever’s disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, is a common but painful heel injury that affects children. With Sever’s disease, the heel’s growth plate becomes inflamed and sore, usually in kids that are active in sports. It can crop up during periods of rapid growth, especially during the onset of puberty. During this time, the heel bone can grow faster than the leg’s muscles and tendons, causing the heel to lose flexibility and feel tightness and pressure. The condition can be worsened by continuous stress and impact on the feet, as well as wearing cleats during sports such as soccer, baseball, and football. Running and jumping on hard surfaces during sports such as track, basketball, and gymnastics can also cause the inflammation.
Symptoms are localized pain, swelling, and tenderness in the heel, walking with a limp, and increased discomfort during standing, walking, jumping, or running. Treatments to relieve pain and inflammation are rest, elevation, ice application, anti-inflammatory medications (always consult a doctor before taking any medication), and heel cushion inserts. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the lower leg muscles and tendons are also recommended. Sever’s disease has no permanent effects and goes away when the inflammation stops.