Severs disease is a relatively common problem of the heel bone in children. However, there is plenty of discussions if it should be called Severs Disease or Calcaneal apophysitis. There is quite a trend away from the term ‘Severs disease’ as it not a disease and it is no longer appropriate to consider conditions named after people. The medical term of calcaneal apophysitis is probably more appropriate.
The condition is a strain or stress injury of the growing area at the back of the heel bone. It is the area of the bone that the Achilles tendon attached to the heel bone. As it is related to the growing plate, Severs disease is no longer a problem or issue after the child stops growing. Typically, it is no longer a problem after the mid-teenage years. It usually starts around the ages of 9-10 years. It is a relatively common condition. The classic symptoms are pain at the back and sides of the heel bone that are made worse with activity.
Severs disease treatment is normally pretty straight forward. The most typical approach is a cushioned heel pad to protect the area and a reduction in the activity levels. This will normally help most cases, but convincing a child to reduce their activity levels is never easy as all they want to when they get to school is run around with their friends. As the natural history is for it to get better on its own, it is all about managing those loads to keep the condition under control while it gets better. Occasionally you need to resort to more drastic means to restrict activity and use a plaster cast or a walking brace.