Osgood-Schlatters Disease (OSD) is a knee condition most commonly seen in adolescents and children, and particularly those who are going through periods of growth. It is known as a ‘traction apophysitis’ at the insertion of the patella tendon onto the tibia. This means that over time, repetitive strain on the patella tendon caused by the forceful pull of the quadriceps muscle group causes inflammation and can cause bony changes around that insertion point. It is most often seen in running and high impact sports where there is repetitive and prolonged strain on the tissues.
OSD is more common in boys, affecting up to 20% of boys between 11-18. It can also occur in girls but it is less common. OSD is a self-limiting condition, meaning that often symptoms will go away by the time the patient is 18, or not having any further growth spurts, however severity of pain and limitations of function because of that often mean people will seek treatment.
Symptoms of OSD may include pain below the level of the kneecap with running, jumping, squatting and stairs, as well as swelling and development of a bump around the insertion point. Those with OSD may also have tightness in the quadricep and hamstring muscle groups (front and back of thigh) and may experience pain in one or both knees.
Treatment for this condition typically will involve some level of relative reduction in activity or sport until symptoms can subside. During that time, rehabilitation exercises that load the inflamed tendon in an appropriate manner should be undertaken under the direction of a Physiotherapist to ensure tendon healing while avoiding further flare ups. Using ice when sore, anti-inflammatories and taping can also help reduce pain in the short term, particularly during or after sport or provoking activities.
If you suspect your child may have symptoms that sound similar to those discussed, or want to look to reduce any other knee or sport related pains, check in with one of our Physiotherapists for a thorough assessment.