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Sever's Disease

What is Sever's disease?

Sever's disease (calcaneal apophysitis) is an inflammatory condition that affects the heel bone (calcaneus). It happens frequently in young athletes between the ages of 10 and 13, causing pain in one or both heels when walking. Tenderness and swelling may also be present. Similar to another overuse condition, Osgood-Shatter lesion, Sever's disease has occasionally been termed Osgood-Shatter of the heel.

In young people, the heel bones are still divided by a layer of cartilage. During the growth years, the bone is growing faster than tendons. This makes it likely that the heel cord will be applying great tension where it inserts into the heel bone. In addition, the heel cord is attached to an immature portion of the heel bone — the calcaneal apophysis. In young athletes, the repetitive stress of running and jumping while playing soccer and basketball may cause an inflammation of the growth center of the heel.

How we can help — treatment options

Orthopaedic surgeons at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia will design a treatment program for your child that includes activity modification, stretching exercises and the use of shoes that have appropriate hindfoot support. We may also suggest the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for a brief period of time, although we believe that, in general, the use of continuous medication during symptoms is not desirable.

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