Sever’s Disease (calcaneal apophysitis) describes a condition in which the growth plate of the heel bone is inflamed. The majority of the heel bone is present at birth then around 8 years of age a secondary growth center develops. This new piece of bone is crescent shaped and is connected to the remainder of the heel bone by a layer of cartilage which is the growth plate.
Heel pain is one of the number one foot problems that podiatrists treat. Plantar fasciitis is the most frequent cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is like a ligament that starts on the heel bone and extends all the way through your arch to the ball of your foot. The interface where the fascia meets the heel bone gets inflamed and thus the sense of sharp or stabbing pain in the bottom/center of the heel. Most times heel pain is related to a change in activity such as training for a race, change in shoes or weight gain. Certain foot types are more inclined to developing plantar fasciitis so for some people the heel pain develops seemingly out of nowhere. The mechanical cause of pulling at the fascia origin leads to inflammation which then causes pain. Although a bone spur can develop where the fascia is pulling on the heel bone, the spur itself is generally not the source of pain and therefore the treatment of fasciitis is not simply removing the spur.