Have children who play sports regularly and experience pain just below the knee? If they are in their early to mid-teens, they may have a growth pain that is called Osgood Schlatters Disease.
What is Osgood Schlatters Disease ?
Osgood Schlatters is a condition (not a disease) that occurs where the quadriceps tendon inserts below the knee, the quadriceps are the large muscles in front of the thighs and are responsible for straightening and limiting the amount of bending at the knee. The quadriceps tendon crosses the knee and attaches to the shin bone just below the knee joint. Contraction of the quadriceps increase tension at the insertion site of the tendon and in some cases, this repeated contraction may cause pain and the tendon to pull away from the knee and cause some swelling at this point.
Why does it happen?
Osgood Schlatters commonly occurs at the time of growth spurts, when the bones grow but the muscles do not. Therefore, the muscles effectivley become tighter which puts increased stress through the quadriceps tendon. It may also be related to unusual mechanics of the leg due to muscle weakness or tightness, or poor foot posture. Over training or incorrect training can also play a part in the the onset.
What can a physiotherapist do?
A physiotherapist can examine the bio-mechanics of the patient to see if any other areas are contributing to knee pain. Treatment may focus on rest from sport, ice, massage, stretches and use of patella tendon taping. Once the pain has settled, quadriceps strengthening can commence. If the physiotherapist noted a contributing problems in the patient’s bio-mechanics, appropriate strengthening and stretching exercises will be given and the patient may be referred to a podiatrist to have their feet thoroughly assessed.
Can I still play sports?
Activity without pain is a crucial part to the recovery process. This may mean decreasing the number of sports played or the frequency of the training sessions, however complete rest is rarely required. The physiotherapist will be able to advise on appropriate amounts of activity and progression of these activities.
Osgood Schlatters Disease will settle, normally within six week to twelve months but it can last as long as two years. It settles when the bones fuse, in the mid to late teenage years. Patients may end up with a slightly enlarged bump below the knee, where the quadriceps tendon attaches.
To talk to one of our physiotherapists about this and other conditions that your child may be experiencing, please contact Physios of Mt Eliza on 9775 4000