Sever’s Disease- A Common Occurrence

As a child ages, their growth plates produce cartilage cells that change into bone. Eventually, when the bones are finished growing, the growth plates will fuse to the long bones. While a child is still growing and their growth plates are still able to maneuver and produce bone matter, injuries to them can occur.

One very common injury is Sever’s Disease, which can occur in children between the ages of 7 and 14.  Sever’s Disease occurs when the growth plate in a child’s heel becomes inflamed. This can occur when the heel bone 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. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon that attaches to the growth plate in the heel. Over time, repeated stress (force or pressure) on the already tight Achilles tendon damages the growth plate, causing the swelling, tenderness, and pain of Sever’s disease[i].”


Common Causes

  • Physical activities, playing sports that require running or jumping on hard surfaces
  • Poor fitting shoes
  • Standing for extended periods of time
  • Overuse of the Achilles tendon
  • Additional contributing factors: flat feet, pronated feet, high arches, overweight


Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain, tenderness or swelling and redness in the heel
  • difficulty walking
  • discomfort or stiffness in the feet upon awaking
  • discomfort when the heel is squeezed on both sides
  • limping or walking on tiptoes



Resting the foot is the top thing a patient can do. This will allow the pain and swelling to have a chance to reduce.  It is best to avoid activities that put pressure on the heel, while it is healing.  Additional treatments, depending on the patients’ needs may include: acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to help reduce swelling and relieve pain, suggest stretching exercises, the use of heel lifts in shoes, elevate and ice the heel or use a compression sock.

If you believe your child may be experiencing Sever’s Disease, or showing signs of any foot discomfort, reach out to Dr. Hollander to determine the best course of action.  Remember, we are here for you!  (707) 578-1222



[i] Kid’s Health.Org “Sever’s Disease” June 2013.