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Sever's Disease

Podiatry located in Cordova, Memphis and Atoka, TN

Sever's Disease services offered in Cordova, Memphis and Atoka, TN

If your child plays sports and has heel pain, it’s likely a condition called Sever’s disease. At Mid-South Foot & Ankle Specialists, the leading Sever’s disease experts offer customized care in three offices in Atoka, Cordova, and East Memphis, Tennessee. Fortunately, Sever’s disease is very treatable, especially if your child seeks help immediately. Call the office in your area or book your appointment online now. 

What is Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease is inflammation in the growth plate of the calcaneus (heel bone). The heel bone isn’t fully developed until the mid-teens, so the exposed growth plates are vulnerable to injury in children ages 8-14. Sever’s disease is the leading cause of heel pain in children today.

In contrast, adult heel pain is usually related to plantar fasciitis, in which the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot develops tears and inflammation. 

What causes Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease is usually tied to repetitive stress on the heels. Up to 87% of children with Sever’s disease play sports involving running or jumping, such as soccer, track, and basketball.

Sever’s disease can also develop with other types of stress to the heel growth plates, including extra weight, a tight Achilles tendon, and biomechanical problems like flat feet or high arches. 

Boys are at least twice as likely as girls to develop Sever’s disease, likely owing to later skeletal maturation in males. 

What are the symptoms of Sever’s disease?

Sever’s disease causes heel pain, with characteristics including: 


  • Intermittent pain in one or both heels
  • Worsening pain during physical activity, particularly sports that stress the heels
  • Soreness and tenderness when pressing on the back of the heel
  • Pain and stiffness when first waking up


Children with Sever’s disease may limp to avoid placing pressure on their painful heel. Unfortunately, children may not use the best judgment when it comes to pain, so they may try to play through it. However, this can cause long-term damage, so it’s vital to treat heel pain as soon as it begins.

How is Sever’s disease treated?

Mid-South Foot & Ankle Specialists offers comprehensive Sever’s disease treatments to help your child get back to their regular routine. Treatment usually involves limiting physical activity when hurting, wearing supportive cushioned shoes, wearing custom orthotics, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers as needed. 


Physical therapy is extremely helpful for Sever’s disease, and your child usually needs to do daily calf stretches at home alongside their treatment. 


Sever’s disease resolves permanently when the heel growth plates close. As long as your child follows their treatment plan, wears protective gear, and responds to pain wisely, they can continue an active and full life with Sever’s disease. 


If your child has heel pain, use the online scheduler to book an appointment or call the Mid-South Foot & Ankle Specialists office nearest you now.