Heel pain in children

Pain emanating from the back of the heel bone can be a debilitating condition in children. There can be many causes of heel pain, some nasty, but frequently it is due to a condition called ‘calcaneal apophysitis’ or ‘Sever’s disease’ after James Warren Sever, who first described it in 1912. Pain is essentially due to repetitive microtrauma of the growth plate and immature bone in the heel.


It usually presents in active children between the ages of 8 – 14. Complaints of pain are usually towards the end of play. Tenderness is frequently located where the back and the bottom of the heel meet and squeezing the heel between cupped hands will elicit pain.

Fortunately, the condition is self-limiting, but there are risks that can be addressed to reduce pain. At Adelaide Podiatry Clinic we can assess the foot and leg to determine if there are any structural abnormalities, arrange a variety of medical imaging and provide advice about the management of load.