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 will determine which treatment protocol will have the most positive results.

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, knowing the difference between Acute and Chronic Sever’s disease is so important because each will require a different treatment approach.

Acute Sever’s will respond to conservative care, but Chronic Sever’s disease requires a more aggressive and methodical treatment plan like the use of custom orthotics and a pediatric night brace.

While icing and elevating the foot may help, this will not resolve Chronic Sever’s.

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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