Sever's Disease: The Unknown Heel Pain – Apolla Performance Wear

Sever's Disease: The Unknown Heel Pain

Heel Pain Cheerleading

Sever's Disease: Unknown Heel pain of Cheerleaders

If you're a young cheerleader or a parent of one, you may have heard about Sever's disease but might not know exactly what it entails. Common among young athletes, especially those involved in activities like cheerleading, Sever's disease can be both painful and frustrating. This blog aims to demystify the condition, providing easy-to-follow advice on recognizing symptoms, understanding its causes, and effectively managing the condition.

What is Sever's Disease?

Sever's disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, is not actually a disease but rather an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. This condition is most common among children and teenagers who are going through growth spurts, as the bones often grow faster than the muscles and tendons, leading to tightness and strain.

“As a mom, seeing your child in pain is one of the hardest things to endure. My daughter, Mia, is a dedicated cheerleader at her high school. She's been passionate about cheerleading since she was a little girl, and it's become an integral part of her life. However, a few months ago, she started complaining about pain in her heels, especially after practices and competitions.

At first, I thought it might just be regular soreness from her rigorous routines, but when she began limping, I knew we had to see a doctor. The diagnosis came quickly: Sever's disease. The doctor explained that it wasn't unusual for active teenagers, especially those who participate in sports like cheerleading, which involve a lot of jumping and landing…”

Severs Disease

Why is Sever's Disease Common in Cheerleading?

Cheerleading involves a lot of activities that can stress the heels, such as:

Jumping and Tumbling: High-impact moves that put pressure on the heel.

Hard Surfaces: Performing on gym floors or similar surfaces increases impact on the heels.

Repetitive Movements: Routines are often repeated many times, putting continuous stress on the same areas.

Footwear: Cheerleading shoes may not always provide sufficient support for the heel and arch.

Symptoms to Watch For

- Pain in the heel, especially after activities
- Tenderness at the back of the heel
- Difficulty walking, running, or jumping
- Swelling or redness around the heel (less common)


“...The recommendation was to take it easy, which, for Mia, felt almost impossible. Cheer is her world, and with regional competitions around the corner, taking a break was the last thing she wanted to do. We both left the doctor's office feeling a bit deflated, wondering how we could manage her condition while keeping her engaged in cheer…then I found a solution...”

Managing Sever's Disease in Cheerleaders

  1. Modify Activities

Reducing or modifying the intensity of practice can help alleviate symptoms. Coaches and parents should encourage less strenuous alternatives until symptoms improve.

  1. Use Proper Footwear

Invest in supportive shoes that cushion and protect the heel. Avoid being barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.

  1. Stretch and Strengthen

Regular stretching of the calf muscles can relieve tightness and reduce strain on the heel. Strengthening exercises for the ankles and legs can also help improve overall foot mechanics.

Calf (Gastrocnemius) Stretch: Face a wall with one foot in front of the other, keeping the back leg straight and the heel on the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg.
Soleus Stretch: Similar to the above, but both knees will be slightly bent during the stretch.

  1. Use Apolla Compression Socks

Some people may use heel cups or special braces designed to protect the heel during activities. These can absorb some of the impacts and provide extra support. However, we have seen over and over from young athletes that our compression socks are the silver bullet they have been looking for to releive their pain. See Kaycee's wrap-up below to learn more. 

  1. Practice RICE Protocol

Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) can be very effective immediately following activities to reduce inflammation and pain. 

“...That’s when I stumbled upon a forum for parents of young athletes, where several people recommended Apolla socks. They mentioned how these socks helped speed up recovery and provided support and relief for heel discomfort. Feeling hopeful, I ordered a pair for Mia to try.
The difference was noticeable almost immediately. Mia could participate in practice with much less discomfort, and she was able to perform her routines without aggravating her heels too much. The socks seemed to provide just the right amount of compression and support. She described them as a "hug for her feet," which not only helped manage the pain but also gave her more confidence to perform…”
Heel Pain in cheer

When to Seek Professional Help

If the pain persists despite taking these steps, it's important to consult a healthcare provider who specializes in pediatric sports injuries. They can offer additional interventions such as physical therapy, which can be tailored to the needs of young cheerleaders.

“...With the help of her coach, we also modified her training schedule slightly to reduce strain where we could, and focused more on stretching and strengthening exercises that her doctor and physical therapist recommended. Mia learned to listen to her body more, recognizing when to push and when to take a step back.
Now, a few months later, Mia is doing much better. She still wears her Apolla socks for both practices and competitions, and she hasn't had a severe recurrence of the heel pain. Watching her cheer with a big smile, knowing she isn't in pain, is a huge relief. I'm so proud of how she's handled this challenge. She's not only continued to pursue her passion but also learned how to take care of her body along the way.”


Kaycee's Wrap-Up: 

It is one of the most fulfilling joys when I am in front of a young athlete or student that is suffering from Sever's Disease and I get to see them slip on a pair of our socks. It is a WOW moment that never gets old. They have been suffering, sitting out, pushing through pain to keep doing the sport or activity they love...and have tried EVERYTHING! Then they slip on Apolla Compression Socks, and it is like magic! They feel a huge relief and joy! I often get shouts, "where have these been all my life!" I've seen kids well up with tears of gratitude, they finally have a solution to do more of what they love. 

We help not only reduce the inflammation in the heel but then also reduce the force and support the growth plate in a synergistic way that no other product does. We recommend looking at the crew profile or mid-calf profiles. Wear them consistently during practice and recovery and you will see a dramatic improvement in their pain level very quickly. 

While Sever's disease can be a painful interruption to cheerleading, understanding and addressing the symptoms early can lead to a quicker recovery and return to sport. Remember, the goal is to manage pain and inflammation without completely sidelining young athletes. With the right strategies, cheerleaders can continue to perform and enjoy their sport while taking care of their growing bodies.

Do you have any tips for managing your heel pain, what has gotten your athlete through Sever's Disease?

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