Is your child being held back by Heel Pain?

At The Athlete’s Foot, we believe prevention is better than cure. Caring for the correct shoe fit for children’s feet to avoid the on-set of Severs, is our goal..

What is Severs?


Severs Heel, also called Calcaneal Apophysitis isa severe heel pain that occurs in children when the growing part of the heel is injured – a type of ‘overuse’ syndrome. This growing part of the heel is called the ‘growth plate.’ As the foot is one of the first body parts to grow to full size, the foot bones of children often grow faster than the surrounding muscles and tendons, which as a result become tight so the heel area becomes less flexible and more prone to injury.

How does Severs occur?

During weight-bearing activity (activity performed by standing) the tight heel tendons may put too much pressure at the back of the heel where the Achilles Tendon attaches. This can injure the heel causing pain on heel strike. Running on hard surfaces is also a contributing factor, particularly if the child runs barefoot or in shoes/boots that have poor cushioning. It is the most common cause of heel pain in physically active children, adolescents and early teenagers. Severs rarely occurs in older teenagers because the back of the heel has fi nished growing by the age of 15. The inflamed heel growth plate is caused by overusing the foot with repetitive heel strikes which are associated with sports. It may also occur from wearing shoes with poor or no heel padding or poor support.

What are the symptoms?

A child will complain of heel pain/tenderness over the bottom part of their heel and may tend to limp. As they may have difficulty putting pressure on the heel, another symptom is the child beginning to walk on his or her toes on either or both feet.

Running and jumping normally associated with junior sports, will usually increase the symptoms thus potentially putting an end to their sporting season unless treated.

How is it treated?

Your child will need to limit their activities and rest or do activities which do not cause heel pain. It is recommended that you visit your local podiatrist for a thorough diagnosis and full advice on the treatment required to attack the injury from several angles. It is very important that your child wears shoes with padded heel surfaces and good support. Barefoot walking should be avoided during recovery. Extra heel pads may be placed in your child’s shoe to raise the heel slightly. Orthotics (custom-made arch supports) may also be helpful. Again, a visit to your local podiatrist is recommended.

How can Severs be prevented?

It is best prevented by having your child wear good quality shoes that fit properly. The heel portion of the shoe should not be too tight and there should be good padding in the heel. Major sporting footwear brands like Asics, manufacture shoes with ‘Severs prevention’ features like well-cushioned and raised midsoles, supportive heel counters, arch-supported innersoles and exceptional medial and lateral support