Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that presents with pain below the kneecap often creating a bony lump. It commonly presents in active adolescents during puberty or growth spurts. While the pain may diminish as you age, a large bony lump may remain as a result of the condition. Inflammation at the tibial growth plate (tibial apophysis) created by repetitive contraction of the quadriceps muscle is believed to be the main cause of the condition. When the tendon that is attached to the tibia undergoes repetitive loads throughout a period of bone growth, inflammation and pain results.
Signs and symptoms:
– Local pain and swelling over the tibial tuberosity at the attachment of the patella tendon
– Pain usually occurs during and after exercise
– A bony lump may develop at the tibial tuberosity during later stages of the condition.
As adolescents grow, their bones progress through different development stages. With increased activity during one of these bony growth periods, disruption to the immature bone occurs. This will happen with activities including running, jumping, and fast changing of direction such as soccer, rugby, netball and basketball. Osgood-schlatters has historically been more common in adolescent boys, but is now also presenting with young active girls. The age of onset differs somewhat due to girls generally reaching puberty before boys, but typically presents from ages 10 to 14. It is also more common to occur in just one knee, with bilateral Osgood-Schlatter present in only 20% of cases.
There is no cure for Osgood-schlatter disease, as it generally resolves on its own once bony growth ends. In saying this there are several factors to consider which can provide relief to the sufferer. What will help?
– Ice after activity and during painful stages
– Specific stretching and strengthening program targeting the musculature surrounding the knee joint. During the pain free stages, the patient should regularly stretch the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles to reduce muscular tension around the joint complex
– Restriction of high impact activity during periods of growth spurts
– Some taping and knee braces can offer support and stability
– Foot and arch control with orthotics.
Osgood-Schlatters is a self-limiting condition. Complete recovery occurs once the growth plate has closed and bony development ends. In some cases there may be a permanent bony prominence as a result of the inflammatory condition. Although the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter’s may be present for months, most cases are best treated holistically; surgery or cortisone injections are seldom necessary.
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