Sever’s Disease


Sever’s Disease is a common cause of activity related heel pain in active growing children between the ages of 8 and 14.  It normally occurs through overuse, inappropriate footwear, pronating feet, or a period of rapid growth, resulting in the growth plate of the heel bone becoming inflamed and painful

The good news is that the pain will cease when the growth plate fuses, but it can be severe enough to require many weeks of rest from sport. Football boots will often cause more pain than runners.

Early diagnosis and management can help get our smaller athletes back on track and pain free much sooner.

To help prevent Sever’s Disease, you can these easy to manage steps:

  • Manage the volume of running in the growing athlete
  • Ensure footwear is good quality and appropriate for foot type
  • Ensure that strength throughout the limb is adequate for the chosen sport
If heel pain occurs:
  • Ice after activity
  • Modify activity levels
  • Parents can massage their child’s calves
  • Consider footwear assessment
If this doesn’t work, your physiotherapist can:
  • Help identify weaknesses or muscle tightness
  • Initiate biomechanical correction through strength control for the foot, ankle, hip and knee
  • Advise regarding footwear and recommend inserts for the runner or boots if appropriate
  • Guide a graduated return to activity
Occasionally Sever’s Disease can be extremely painful and limiting.  In these cases, you physiotherapist may suggest that you see a Sports Physician who can help to further investigate the diagnosis if required.  They can also advise on other anti-inflammatory options, including topical gels and creams or sometimes iontophoresis, a method that allows potent anti-inflammatory medication to be delivered transdermally (across the skin).
All of the physiotherapists at Pinnacle Physiotherapy Mornington and Dromana are trained to assess and treat children with Sever’s Disease.  Please call our clinics for more information on (03)5975 7086 – Mornington or (03)5981 8008 Dromana.
Written by Peter Gayfer, Physiotherapist and Director at Pinnacle Physiotherapy and Pilates.