Sever’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The nagging heel pain caused by Sever’s disease is common among growing, young athletes. Traditionally, time and long periods of rest have been the only real options for treating this condition. Airrosti is different. We work to pinpoint the root of this pain and treat it directly at the source. Unlike traditional methods of treatment, Airrosti eliminates pain in an average of three visits (based on patient-reported outcomes).


Sever’s disease, also known as Calcaneal Apophysitis, is one of the most common causes of heel pain in growing athletes and is due to overuse and repetitive stress on the growth plates in the heel. It usually occurs during the growth spurt of adolescence, the approximate 2-year period in early puberty when kids grow most rapidly. This growth spurt can begin any time between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys. Sever’s disease rarely occurs in older teens because the back of the heel usually finishes growing by the age of 15, when the growth plate hardens and the growing bones fuse together into mature bones.


Sever’s disease commonly results from physical activities and sports that involve running and jumping, especially those that take place on hard surfaces, such as track, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. It can also result from standing too long, which puts constant pressure on the heel. Poor-fitting shoes can contribute to the condition by not providing enough support or padding for the feet or by rubbing against the back of the heel.


Sever’s disease is similar to Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition that affects the bones in the knees. The following are symptoms which may indicate your active child has Sever’s disease.

  • The most obvious sign of Sever’s disease is pain or tenderness in one or both heels.
  • Pain typically occurs at the back of the heel, but may extend to the sides and bottom of the heel.
  • A child may also experience swelling and redness in the heel.
  • Walking may be difficult, sometimes resulting in a limp or walking on tiptoes to avoid pressure on the heel.
  • Discomfort or stiffness in the feet upon awakening may occur.
  • Your child’s heel may hurt if you squeeze both sides toward the very back.


The good news is Sever’s disease will go away on its own when activity is lessened or when the bone has finished growing, but it can recur (for example, at the start of a new sports season). Traditionally, the only known cure was for children to outgrow the condition, with recurrences happening an average of 18 months. The risk of recurrence goes away on its own when foot growth is complete and the growth plate has fused to the rest of the heel bone, usually around age 15.


Reviewed by Casey Crisp, Doctor of Chiropractic

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