A few years back, we pieced together an article on a very important topic; best boots for players suffering with Sever’s disease. Most of you reading this will already know what severs is, as you are probably here trying to find answers. For those that don’t know, Sever’s (also known as calcaneal apophysitis) is a type of bone injury in which the growth plate in the lower back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon (the heel cord that attaches to the growth plate) attaches, becomes inflamed and causes pain. No surgery is needed, so players can either sit out sports (rest and recovery) or find a solution that helps alleviate the pain.
And finding a solution is definitely not an easy process. It is a case of trial and error until you find something that provides some relief. With that in mind, we wanted to revisit the topic and also share some additional feedback we have received from readers since the original article. This feedback might prove useful, as you are getting added info from parents that have experienced the problem.
Try A Gel Heel Cup
Rather than looking to completely change your footwear, the first step would be to take a look at some heel cups. These are created with dual density materials to help absorb shock on impact with the ground. Feedback on them is very mixed, with some parents finding them as a perfect solution to player heel pain, while others have found them unhelpful.
Here are some examples of Gel Heel Cups to check out!
Ice, ice and more ice. After play, make sure to have ice ready to help reduce any swelling. My advice here is ice cups; simply fill a paper cup with water, leave it in the freezer, and once it is frozen peel back the cup so that the ice is open to massage the foot.
Another pretty cool option that has received a lot of positive feedback is this KidSole Ice Pack Recovery Boot. Slip it on your kids foot, and sit them in front of a good movie for a half hour to help with inflammation!
Stretching and Strengthening
Another key element here is strengthening the area around the ankle to help decrease strain on the Achilles. Heel lifts, in particular, are important and effective. BUT, it is vitally important to speak with a specialist when it come to stretching, in order to ensure you are doing them correctly.
The key takeaway from adding an area of feedback is to let you know a lot of other people are going through the same issue and struggling to find a solution. Not everything works, but having more options to try can prove encouraging. If you have (or haven’t) had success with another process or product, please let us know in the comments below so we can share with others in need!
Good article, being born with short Achilles tendons I had surgery at the age of 4 and then experienced problems and got another surgery for what you call “severs” a few years ago (they removed a portion of bone since the liquid got solid and created a spyke). I agree with all you wrote, I still play soccer (I’m 27 now) even though it gets swollen afterwards. Lots of ice every time helps a lot, as well as reinforcing the muscles around, especially calfs and quadriceps. I suggest to go see an orthopedic, see if you have some imbalances, get orthopedic insoles (heel cups are often too soft and you get the effect of your foot moving up and down inside the shoes)
Best shoes for me have been: Nike Tiempo IV, Total90 laser4 (ordered a pair this year on ebay too), tried the Magistas but felt no lockdown and then got Superflys, which are superb. I was a Vapor kind of guy, but I had to drop them because of the problem, nice to slip back into them..
Sorry if I have been boring, keep up the good work! Cheers
My son had severs. We took him to the doctor and she suggested heel cups but his shoes just didn’t fit right. We tried a pair of the Asics boots with the 10mm heal gradient and the results were excellent. While he wasn’t thrilled with the look he was able to play soccer pain free after a few weeks. He has since grown out of this issue and is back wearing Nike’s but we will always be thankful to Asics for a great boot.
We saw a physio after my son who’s first got severs with his left then his right went the same way, but we managed to catch it earlier and start the process of massaging his calf and heels as soon as it started displaying the same symptoms. We’d massage calves and heels after the games/practices. and sometimes Voltarin Emugel to get the inflammation under control with more severe flare ups. He’s offseason now but recently started getting a flare-up with summer soccer. Boots – Agree with Jon, the best brand that specifically targets condition this are Asics cleats – for the reasons Jon outlines they have more lift and cushioning in the heels.
There’s also another massage tool called the Mustang Magnetic Massager from Azolla Health, and I’ve found that worked for my Achilles so well, I could get back on the pitch myself, and now it’s also working for my Son’s heels. This vid is worth a watch as this therapist (Another Kiwi so might be a bit harder to understand) explains how it’s used to massage the calf and Achilles, and we get my son to use it on calves and Achilles but he also gently rests his heel in between the magnetic balls, pivoting his heel from side to side while watching TV.
I think we will find ourselves using this quite a lot next season as it will be process of ongoing management to keep flare-ups to a minimum. Best of luck I hope your son can get back into the academy – I know how it can really be a knock to his self-esteem after my son was off the team for 6weeks after a head knock, but he’ll overcome this I’m sure.
Always buy cleats half size up and add second flat form insole (I used regular soft athletic insoles and shaved them off to the same thickness as the toes area) on top of existing one. It’s like adding extra 2/8″ for cushioning. I’m 52 years old guy and still playing semi-pro soccer with the under 35 players.
Superfeet Insoles worked great for both of my daughters with Severs, along with ice, calf stretching and strengthening. Just pull the insole out of your cleats and replace it with Superfeet (cut to fit). They are guaranteed so you can return them if they don’t work. Give it some time, they take a while to get used to. My daughters wear them in all of their athletic shoes
Honestly, it is a case of trial and error when it comes to finding the right boots to wear. Some will work, others might prove not as adequate for your particular situation. Out of all the boots on the market right now, ASICS soccer cleats are the most highly recommended, with the brand taking their expertise in running shoes across to the soccer market. Size wise, it is pretty difficult to find pairs for kids in the US, which is unfortunate.
*We will update this area with newer market options in the coming days.