Osgood Schlatter's Disease

It is relatively uncommon but can be very debilitating. Boys are affected more than girls, although this could be due to differing activity patterns. It is thought that around 13 per cent of adolescent knee pain is due to Osgood-Schlatter’s syndrome.

It often occurs during a growth spurt and is associated with physical activity, being predominantly an overuse rather than a traumatic injury. The tibial tuberosity swells and feels painful during certain activities such as running, kneeling, or stair climbing. It is thought that the tendon attaching the quadriceps muscles to the shin bone becomes tight and causes inflammation and micro-fractures in the tibial tuberosity.

The symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter’s syndrome

depending on the severity of the condition, but may include:

  • Pain in one or both knees
  • Pain when straightening the knee joint or full squatting
  • Pain on running, or going up and down stairs
  • Pain that eases with rest
  • A swollen tibial tuberosity
  • Red and inflamed skin over the tibial tuberosity
  • Quadriceps muscles that can sometimes lose strength and bulk.

Some of the causes of Osgood-Schlatter's syndrome may include:

  • Growth spurt – the condition tends to affect adolescent children. Affected boys are often aged about 13 to 14 years, while affected girls are often aged 10 to11 years.
  • Exercise – active children, particularly those engaged in athletics and sports, are at increased risk.
  • Gender – boys are more susceptible than girls, but perhaps this is because boys typically play more vigorous sports.
  • Injury – around half of all children with the condition report a prior knee injury.

Osgood-Schlatter's syndrome is very successfully managed non operatively with physiotherapy. Rest from aggravating activity is also important for resolution over time. Treatment options include activity modification, ice, pain-relieving medications, stretching , massage release, foam roller exercises, prescribed infra patella strap and or kinesiotape, orthotic prescription, strengthening and functional training.

For a thorough individualised assessment and rehabilitation programme please consult with one of our experienced Physiotherapists.

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