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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s Disease or Calcaneal apophysitis is a common type of heel pain which commonly occurs in adolescents.

Do you know someone with heel pain? Are they also a teenager? Have they also grown a lot recently? Well this could all be linked to  a condition called Sever’s disease or calcaneal apophysitis.

This injury affects the growth plate on the calcaneus or the “Heel Bone”, during times of growth during adolescence the growth plate isn’t fully formed and therefor prone to injury. This condition primarily affects young athletes who are constantly moving and causing stress to the area. Your bones will grow quicker then some muscles during a growth spurt so your calf may pull on the Achilles tendon which connects to the heel where you may have pain.

What to look out for?

  • Tenderness/ swelling/redness around the back of your heel at the bottom of your Achilles.
  • Recent or ongoing growth spurts.
  • Increase in training loads or activity levels
  • Tightness in the calves

What can I do for Sever’s disease?

  • Physiotherapy consult to determine the cause.
  • Decrease training load and allow bone to heal.
  • Appropriate rehabilitation programme from your Physio
  • Anti- inflammatory Medication can be taken to reduce symptoms.


What will the Physio do?

  • Treatment can include Shockwave therapy which is great for promoting healing around growth plates on bones, Soft tissue massage and dry needling.
  • Tailored exercise program  to strengthen and stretch the calves.
  • Sometimes heel pads are used to reduce the amount of load going into the heel.

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