Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a common knee pain felt in growing adolescents, especially those who are active and play a lot of sport. It's inflammation of the area just below the knee where the patellar tendon from the kneecap attaches to the shin bone. It will often feel like a bony bump and occurs from growth spurts during puberty as the bones, muscles and tendons are all changing quickly.
In most cases, physical activity can aggravate the child's tendon by placing more stress on it. High impact activities that include a lot of jumping, running or bending of the knee like basketball, netball, gymnastics, athletics, ballet etc. cause their thigh muscles (quadriceps) to pull tightly against the kneecap and patellar tendon, which then pulls on the shin bone. This repeated action causes the tendon to become tight and inflamed near its bone attachment (just below their knee). This results in pain and swelling at the area, and in some cases, the body attempts to close the growth plate (cartilage found at the ends of bones in children) with new bone, which can result in a lump in the area.
Considering the most common cause of the condition is high intensity exercise, there are certain factors that can increase your child's risk of developing the condition:
If your child starts to experience a combination of the following symptoms, then they may have Osgood-Schlatter Disease.
These symptoms usually disappear when your child's bones stop growing.
Osgood-Schlatter's disease can usually be diagnosed by a physical examination. The podiatrists will take into account their age and daily activities, then examine the knee to look for pain, swelling, tenderness and redness.
If a complete diagnosis can not be made upon physical examination of the knee, they may order X-rays, an ultrasound or an MRI to rule out any other possible causes of your child's pain.
Osgood-Schlatter disease can typically resolve on it's own if you modify your child's activity, perform stretches and ice the area. If your child is still experiencing pain, our podiatrists can create an individualised treatment plan that will help reduce painful symptoms.
This may include a combination of the following:
Osgood-Schlatter disease should resolve within 12 months, however your child's knee may continue to feel uncomfortable until the bones finish growing.
It's uncommon for there to be complications with Osgood-Schlatter's, however, if your child tries to exercise through the pain with no sort of treatment to combat it, the condition could worsen by the quadriceps pulling even tighter against the kneecaps and patellar tendon.
Where this tendon attaches to the shin bone, the area can become inflamed and micro-fractures of the bone could occur. Your child's body will repair the fractures by creating extra bone tissue, which can result in a bony bump becoming present below the kneecap, which may never resolve.
Your child could help to prevent Osgood-Schlatter's by: