Firstly, we really should stop using the term ‘Sever’s Disease’ as it not a disease! We should be using the term calcaneal apophysitis. So sorry for using the term here, but the term is still so widely used, so we are still going to use it for now.
Severs is a problem with the growing area at the back of the heel bone. As it is a problem, of the growing bone, the condition is self-limiting and will no longer be an issue when the growth of that bone has finished. It is more common around the ages of 10-12 years. Just asking around a group of school kids of that age will give an indication of just how common it is.
The classic symptom of Severs disease are pain on activity and pain on squeezing the sides of the back part of the heel. At first the pain is minor and does not affect activity much, but later it becomes more severe and affects sports participation and may even cause limping.
Best Treatment for Sever’s Disease
There is no such thing as a “best treatment”. There are a lot of people who think there is and like to “push their barrow”. Sever’s disease is a self-limiting condition whose symptoms vary from day to day naturally. A lot of supposed treatments are no better than a placebo and do not affect that natural history of it getting better on its own. That natural history and fluctuation of symptoms can mislead many into believing a treatment may have worked when in reality it did not. On average the symptoms last for almost a year, but are usually quite manageable.
The best treatment for Sever’s disease is education on the nature of it, education and instruction on managing the loads and lifestyle to keep the symptoms under control until it recovers on its own. This is best done with ice after activity, cutting back a bit on sport if too painful, cushioned heel pads to relieve the symptoms – this will take care of most cases. If the pain does get too painful, then cutting back more on activity levels is warranted.
FootStore.au products for Severs Disease
We have a silicone gel heel pad that is really effective at helping the symptoms of this problem while waiting for it to heal.
For more of the latest research and thoughts on this, check out the Calcaneal apophysitis threads on Podiatry Arena (this website is for podiatrists, but does contain all the latest information) and also this video on calcaneal apophysitis from PodChatLive.