Calcaneal apophysitis (Sever’s disease) is a very common problem of growing children that causes pain at the back of the heel bone. It is an overuse stress injury to the growth plate that is found in the heel bone or calcaneus. It is usually a problem from ages 8-10 up until the early teenage years when that growth plate merges with the rest of the bone in the heel. The cause is mostly overuse and it is more common in those who play a lot of sport, especially on hard surfaces and are over weight.
The classic symptoms of calcaneal apophysitis is pain in the heel on activity and pain when someone squeezes the side of the heel bone. The condition is self limiting in that they will grow out of it eventually when the growth plate merges with the rest of the bone. It is however, painful and still does need to be treated.
The treatment of calcaneal apophysitis typically starts a lot of education about the condition, reassurance of its self limiting nature and a reduction in the activity levels down to a level that the child can tolerate. Ice can be used after activity if it is painful. Foot orthotics have been shown to be of some help with the pain and should be tried.