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Pediatric Heel Pain (Seever's Disease)

Updated: Jan 11

In this section Cypress Foot and Ankle expert Dr. Christopher Correa discusses Seever's disease (Pediatric heel pain). Seever's disease (pediatric heel pain), also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a common condition that affects children and adolescents. First off, it is my opinion that Seever's disease is not an accurate name as that it is not a disease at all. It is a type of overuse injury that occurs in the growth plate of the heel bone. The moniker Seever's disease makes the conditions sound so much worse than it really is and can induce fear in parents for no reason. Seever's is a self-limiting condition that will ultimately go away with the heel bone growth plate closes. Unfortunately, if the symptoms are not managed it can cause a persisted reoccurring problem until that happens.

What is Seever's Disease (Pediatric heel pain)?

Seever's disease is inflammation of the growth plate in the back of the heel bone where the Achilles tendon meets to the bone. The Growth plate exists between two pieces of bone and is made up of cartilage. This cartilage is weaker than the tendon and bone making it the plate that experiences the most stress in this system. The growth plate is a layer of cartilage that allows for growth and development of the bone, but it can be vulnerable to injury and inflammation. In children and adolescents, the heel bone is not yet fully developed, making it more susceptible to this sort of injury. Seever's disease is caused by repetitive stress on the heel, such as from playing sports or physical activity. Often times my patients participate in the same or a rotation of a few different sports year-round. This stress can cause small tears in the growth plate, leading to inflammation, pain, and swelling. The condition is most commonly seen in active children and adolescents, especially in those who play sports that involve running, jumping, and pivoting, such as soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.

Treatment for Sever's disease typically involves rest, ice, and pain relievers to reduce swelling and pain. Physical therapy and stretching exercises may also be prescribed to help strengthen the muscles and tendons in the affected area. In some cases, orthotics or shoe inserts may be recommended to help redistribute pressure and relieve pressure on the heel. In rare severe cases, a cast or brace may be necessary to immobilize the foot and allow for proper healing. Surgery is not recommended for this condition as it will resolve when the growth plate closes near the end of puberty. For girls this is usually between age 13-15 and age 15-17 for boys. If your child is limping and complaining about heel pain, make an appointment with the experts at Select Foot and Ankle Specialists today and take the first step towards recovery!

Seever's disease, sports injury, Heel pain child, pediatric

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