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Will I need an X-ray to show Sever’s disease?

Should I get an X-ray for Sever’s disease?

A heel bone showing signs of advanced Sever's disease
A heel bone showing signs of advanced Sever’s disease

Generally, the answer is no.  A diagnosis of Sever’s Disease is usually strongly based on the history of the problem and tests a podiatrist will perform when they assess the child.  The main reason x-ray is not relied upon is because early signs of the condition are not detectable on x-ray. These changes will occur with actual bone tissue death and we are always aiming to begin treatment well before there is permanent tissue damage.

Also, in general, any health professional will only take an x-ray if the findings are likely to affect the treatment plan.  If we are considering that your child has Sever’s disease, we will lay out a tretment plan to address it.  Taking an x-ray may confirm the diagnosis but is much more likely to be inconclusive. This step can be unnecessarily confusing for parents and is a waste of time where treatment could be commenced and the condition resolved. Added to this is the  general rule that we will avoid exposing a child (or indeed an adult) to ionising radiation, even if it is a very small dose, without a potential benefit.

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