What is it?
Osgood–Schlatter disease or syndrome (also known as epiphysitis of the tibular tubercle) is an irritation of the patellar ligament at the tibial tuberosity.
What causes it?
The patella tendon inserts at the tibial tuberosity and through overuse can tug away at the bone causing inflammation. With repeated trauma new bone grows back during the healing which causes a bony lump which is often felt at the tibial tuberosity.
Signs & Symptoms
Pain at the tibial tuberosity (or bony bit at the top of the shin) just below the knee.
The tibial tuberosity may become swollen or inflamed and may even become more prominent than the other side.
Tenderness and pain is worse during and after exercise.
Pain when contracting the quadriceps against resistance or when contracting the muscles with the leg straight.
Who gets it?
Typically occurs in girls & boys aged 9-16, coinciding with growth spurts
More common in adolescent boys
What can you do?
Rest – This injury needs rest if it is to heal properly.
Only do as much exercise as it will allow without causing pain.
Apply ice or cold therapy to the knee regularly throughout the day to reduce pain and inflammation and particularly following activity or sport. Ice should be applied at least three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes. Ice massage with an ice cube is a convenient way to apply cold therapy to a specific area such as the patella tendon.
Gently stretch the quad muscles if comfortable to do so.
Use a knee support or knee strap to help reduce the tension on the knee.
See a chartered physiotherapist
What can physiotherapy do for you?
Make a correct diagnosis to confirm the existence of Osgood Schlatters disease and make sure it is not anything else causing the pain.
Use sports massage techniques on the quads and patella tendon.
Prescribe an exercise programme that will allow you to do as much exercise as possible and get the best results from your training.
Usually clears up when children stop growing
10% will continue to suffer into adulthood
20-30% will suffer symptoms bilaterally
Paul Scholes & Danny Wellbeck both suffered from Osgood-Schlatters in adolescence
If you are concerned that you, or your child suffers from this condition, feel free to give us a call or book an appointment with one of our Chartered Physiotherapists.
Kujala UM, Kvist M, Heinonen O (1985). “Osgood-Schlatter’s disease in adolescent athletes. Retrospective study of incidence and duration”. Am J Sports Med 13 (4): 236–41
Cassas KJ, Cassettari-Wayhs A (2006). “Childhood and adolescent sports-related overuse injuries”. Am Fam Physician 73 (6): 1014–2
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