The Difference Between Acute & Chronic Sever's Disease (And Why It Matters)

Sever’s disease is a common cause of heel that many children experience at some point. In fact, many parents bring their child to a podiatrist assuming it is just an issue with the Achilles tendon, or simply heel pain, when the true culprit is Sever’s disease.

But what many don’t realize is that there are two types of Sever’s disease: acute and chronic. The type of Sever’s disease your child has determines the methods required to treat it.

Acute vs Chronic

Acute Sever's

Acute Sever's will generally resolve on its own or respond favorably to conservative treatments. A custom orthotic is not necessary for acute Sever's. If the child's heel pain has not improved after a few weeks they may have chronic Sever's.

Chronic Sever's

As the name implies, chronic Sever's is more serious and is an ongoing condition. Chronic Sever's does not respond to conservative treatments, and a custom orthotic and night splint is recommended to achieve the most optimal resolution.

Why Does Knowing the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Sever's Disease Matter?

Simply put, the main reason knowing the difference between acute and chronic Sever’s disease is important is because chronic Sever’s disease will not be treated by the methods used for acute Sever’s disease.

Chronic Sever’s disease requires more aggressive, consistent care. While icing and elevating the foot may help, they will not work as a primary treatment for chronic Sever’s, because the inflammation is much more severe. To properly treat the condition and provide real relief for your child, whether their Sever’s disease is acute or chronic is a must.

Treating Chronic Sever's Disease

As the name implies, chronic Sever’s disease is an ongoing condition. The pain of chronic Sever’s disease is much more extreme than acute Sever’s. Though there are similarities between the two treatment methods, such as ensuring the child has properly fitting footwear, chronic Sever’s disease requires more in-depth solutions than acute.

The podiatrist works with your child to change the way their feet hit the ground and reduce the pressure placed on the growth plate. To do so, a custom orthotic with a ridged deep heel is created to perfectly fit the child’s foot and account for their unique movements. The device is worn in all of their shoes, including athletic shoes, which allows them to remain active and still relieve the pain caused by chronic Sever’s disease.

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