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Osgood Schlatters Disease

What is Osgood Schlatter Disease?

Osgood Schlatters is a complication of growing too fast. As our bodies grow during rapid growth periods, the bones have a tendency to grow too fast for the surrounding muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues. As a result there can be increased forces that occur to certain areas of tendon/muscle attachment. 

One of the areas commonly affected is where the patella tendon (tendon below the knee cap) attaches to the Tibial Tuberosity (shin bone). The patella tendon pulls on its attachment which is weaker due to the presence of a growth plate. The growth plate can become irritated by this extra force, creating pain, inflammation and sometimes swelling. Osgood Schlatters usually occurs in association with high levels of activity and periods of rapid growth.

How long will it last?

Osgood Schlatters symptoms will generally begin occurring during periods of maximum growth. This is usually between the age of 10-12 years for girls, and 13-15 years for boys. The condition is usually self limiting, and when growth settles the symptoms will settle. Often symptoms will increase or decrease depending on how growth spurts.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Osgood Schlatters include:

  • Pain or aching in the front of the knee. It can occur on one or both legs.
  • Pain is usually first noticed during exercise and is more common with jumping, high impact sports.
  • As symptoms worsen pain can be felt for 2-3 days after the cessation of activity.

Suggestions for managing Osgood Schlatters include:

  • Education regarding the fact the condition is self limiting.
  • Anti-inflammatory strategies to help reduce the amount of inflammation occurring during and after exercise – e.g. ice, compression, elevation of the knee.
  • Modification or reduction of activity levels during periods of symptom aggravation.
  • Taping to offload the patella tendon’s attachment to the tibial tuberoisty. Your physiotherapist can show you how to do this prior to playing/participating in sport/activity.
  • Your physiotherapist may give you some strengthening and stretching exercises to build up and lengthen the quadriceps (thigh) muscles. If there is significant muscle issues you may need to see an Exercise Physiologist to assist with an appropriate exercise program.
  • Your physiotherapist may also refer you to Podiatry to help assess any biomechanical issues that may be contributing to the symptoms.

Professional treatment options

Contact us now for immediate advice regarding Osgood Schlatters.