Calcaneal apophysitis (Sever’s disease) occurs at the back of the foot due to inflammation of the heel growth plate. Sever’s disease occurs in children from the age group of 8 and 14, this is due to the lack of bone formation. Instead of bone the growth plate is exposed which is prone to inflammation. After the age of 14 the once weak growth plate has completely formed it rigid bone which can absorb impact and disperse stresses. During the vulnerable stages of adolescent growth, the heel can become inflamed due to repetitive stress. Many activities like walking, running and jumping that are included in sport inflame the growth plate.
Like everything in life too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing. Severs is caused by repetitive stresses that are typical of sports that are played in our juvenile years. Other predisposing factors include excessive weight, biomechanical factors such as flat foot, high-arched foot and tight achilles tendon.
To diagnose calcaneal apophysitis the health practitioner will complete a detailed questionnaire about your symptoms, the duration of pain and location and obtain radiographic images of the site. Diagnosis if specific science and should not be attempted by an unqualified person, other disorders of the heel may share the same or similar symptoms.
At the heel pain clinic health specialist will individuals a treatment program for every patient this may include orthotic treatment, specific physical therapies and in certain cases immobilising the foot with a brace. General guidelines for home based treatments (not just specific for calcaneal apophysitis) include de-loading or resting the foot, stretching 2-3 times a day within comfort range and ensuring correct footwear is worn at all times.
Prevention is the best treatment!
If you avoid it then we don’t need to treat it. Calcaneal apophysitis is general more prevalent at the start of a sporting season due to the body being unconditioned. To reduce the development of calcaneal apophysitis we recommend to always actively stretch before starting exercises. A good stretching program should start with low intensity movements progressing to sport specific warm ups. Some people will talk about good and bad pain and yes there is such thing as delayed onset muscle soreness which can be present due to strenuous workout. But if a young athlete feels pain they should stop training immediately and rest until pain subsides or preferably is cleared by a health professional.
Calcaneal apophysitis occurs in adolescent athletes due to repetitive stress on the site of the heels growth plate which is made of cartilage that will eventually turn to bone. Therefore, the athlete should grow out of the symptoms once the new bone is laid down however professional health advice will greatly benefit individuals who have heel pain.