Calcaneal apophysitis or what is more commonly known as Sever’s disease is commonly found amongst the athletic population in children. Unlike the name states, this condition is not a disease and more an inflammation injury of the growth plate in the heel known as the calcaneal apophysis.
Although it has been known to be more commonly noticed amongst boys, over the recent years it has been found quite commonly amongst girls too, due to the increase in sporting activities participated in by both genders. It usually occurs just before puberty, so around the ages of 10-12 years in boys and 9-11 years in girls.
A growth plate is the area at the end of the developing bone where the cartilage tissue eventually turns into bone tissue over time.
Sever’s disease is thought to occur when the bone in the leg tends to grow faster than the calf muscles of the leg. When the bone grows faster it causes the muscles to become tauter. At the same time, as the area of attachment of the muscle is not completely developed into bone, it acts as a tender area, increasing the risk of inflammation and thus pain. Sever’s disease however is ‘self-limiting’ and does tend to heal itself over time.
- Increase in sporting activity
- High impact sports
- Tight Achilles Tendon
- Flat feet
- High arched feet
- Pain at the back or bottom of the heel
- Limping while walking
- Walking on toes
- Difficulty to perform sports – running, jumping etc.
- Pain present when squeezing the sides of the heel
X-rays are commonly used in the diagnosis of Sever’s disease alongside thorough medical history and physical examination.
As Sever’s disease is self-limiting, treatment options are conservative in nature and may include therapies such as medications, physical therapy or even orthoses to support the feet.
If any of these signs and symptoms seem present please feel free to come in and have a chat with see your friendly podiatrist!