You know what they say—kids grow up so fast! Bones grow faster in the foot than other tissues, so if your child is going through a growth spurt, his or her muscles and tendons can tighten and pull. The Achilles tendon, which is attached to the heel bone, can pull on the bone’s growth plate. Sever’s disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, occurs when the growth plate in the back of the heel becomes inflamed. This condition is one of the most common heel injuries seen in children and adolescents, especially those who are active or regularly participate in sports. If your child is complaining of heel pain, Sever’s disease could very well be the cause.
The reason why this disease is rarely seen in adults is because the heel bone hardens and becomes stronger after the growing process is over; therefore it is less prone to problems. Typical symptoms of the condition include heel pain or tenderness that increases over time and occurs mostly with activity. Children in sports that involve running and jumping a lot—like baseball, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, and football—are most commonly affected. It’s important to note that discomfort tends to go away with rest, and seldom occurs in low-impact sports like biking or swimming.