Sever’s Heel Pain in Kids

Sever’s Disease is a common cause of heel pain, particularly in  young kids who are physically active. When young bones are growing they have a distinct line through them called the growth plate, where most of the new bone cells are formed. Due to a large amount of activity occurring in this area, it can also make the bone prone to become sore here. 

During puberty, the calcaneus (heel bone) is divided by a large growth plate.  As the calcanueus grows faster than the surrounding soft tissue in kids, the Achilles tendon is pulled tight. This increase in tensile load can cause inflammation and irritation as the achilles tendon tugs on the growth plate of the heel.

Who does Sever’s affect?

Sever’s most commonly affects boys than girls. It is most often diagnosed in boys around the age 12-14 and girls aged 10-12, which corresponds with the early growth spurts of puberty.

What aggravates Sever’s?

Pain is exacerbated by physical activities, especially those involving running and jumping. ​Typically kids who are very active playing multiple sports with a high amount of time and movement on their feet can develop this heel pain. Often firm pitches with soccer or football can cause flare ups of pain. 

What does it look like?

You’ll find on any x-ray of a younger child that you can see a clear line through the heel bone – the growth plate. This is visible in healthy heels and sore heels. What is important however is to check that there are no chips of bone that have come away through the growth plate, or that there is no soft tissue swelling present local to the heel bone.

Common symptoms:

  • Heel pain on either one or both feet
  • Heel pain during or after physical activity
  • A tender swelling or bulge on the heel
  • Calf muscle stiffness first thing in the morning
  • Limping
  • Avoidance of activity


Treatment involves taking pressure and strain off the heel bone to allow it heal. 

Common treatment strategies involve:

  • Gentle stretching to loosen the calf muscle
  • Heel lifts in the shoe to take pressure off the achilles insertion into the heel bone
  • Icing after games
  • Massage through the calves
  • Strengthening calves
  • Modifying agitating activites
  • Taping the feet into a more efficient position
  • Orthotic therapy to support the feet and offload the painful heel bone

Sever’s is well managed when caught early.

​When left untreated heel pain can persist and can lead to bony build up with prolonged discomfort. Worst of all it can lead to time off from sport! 

If you have concerns with your child make sure to see a Podiatrist so they can get them back to 100%!

Pod Fit Podiatry


166 Grange Road, Findon

Adelaide SA 5023

Pod Fit Podiatry


31 Smart Road, Modbury

Adelaide SA 5092