Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Who is affected?

Osgood-Schlatters is a condition that causes knee pain in the adolescent population. 

This condition affects approximately 10% of adolescents, more commonly affecting boys aged 13-15 years old compared to girls. 

This condition is extremely common during a growth spurt especially in sports involving running and jumping e.g. basketball and football. 

What?

Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatters can include: 

  • Painful lump at the front of the shin 
  • Swelling/redness at the front of the shin 
  • Pain increasing with hopping, running, jumping, and kicking 
  • Muscular tightness especially of Quadriceps muscle 
  • Pain that eases with rest

Why?

Osgood-Schlatters occurs when contraction of the quadriceps muscle causes excessive traction at the Tibial tuberosity (a bony protrusion on the shin bone where the patella tendon attaches to the shin bone – as shown above). This can occur as children progress through puberty due to their growth plates not being completely fused yet. 

This can often result in the child having a painful lump at the front of their shin bone that is exacerbated with these high intensity activities.

Weather to continue playing sport is dependent on the severity of the symptoms however the amount of sport played does not seem to affect the time taken for the pain to disappear. The resolution of the pain is dependent upon the fusion of the tibial tuberosity/ growth plate, and symptoms may persist until full bone maturity.

Long term consequences of Osgood-Schlatter’s can lead to thickening and prominence of the tuberosity and occasionally a separate part of bone can develop at the site of the traction. 

Management

As this condition is self-limiting management can include: 

  • Activity modifications
  • Pain guided limitation to activity  
  • Stretching and strengthening program 
  • Manual Therapy 
  • Some symptomatic relief with taping, bracing, and anti-inflammatory modalities such as ice

Correct diagnosis and management of such a condition is crucial to ruling out other causes and ensuring appropriate management. Hence assessment and management of this condition by a qualified health professional is an important component of Osgood-Schlatters. 

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