If you have a child that’s diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters Disease, do you know what it is, what causes it and what you should do about it?
Our Coventry Uni Sports Therapy student, John Balshaw explains the facts that you need to know:
Osgood Schlatters Disease affects mostly teenage/adolescent children, more commonly boys and is often see in children who partake in a lot of sports. Another factor is sports that involve a lot of sprinting and jumping movements as this puts additional stress on the affected area – think of sports such as basketball, volleyball, sprinting, gymnastics and football.
The condition often occurs during growth spurts when the bones, muscles and tendons are under additional stress. Common symptoms include:
- Knee pain at front of knee
- Dull ache at the knee
- Tightness in muscles at either the front or back of the thigh
- Symptoms often get worse during activity
- There may be swelling on/below the knee
The pain is caused by inflammation in the area just below the knee where the tendon that runs from the kneecap (Patellar Tendon) attaches to the shinbone. During activity the forces from the quad muscles pull on the Patellar tendon which in turn, places stress on the tibial tubercle (this is a bony bump that covers the growth plate at the end of the tibia).
The recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the symptoms, further growth spurts and also and perhaps most importantly, the ability to follow and stick to advice! For some, recovery may be within weeks for others, it may be months.
Treatment initially could be rest, ice, over the counter anti-inflammatory medication and stretching exercises, however, some cases may require more intervention and a longer recovery period.
Sports therapy can help with deep tissue massage to help the muscles function better, medical acupuncture to help with pain and kinesiotaping to help support the muscles and joints. There may be cases where weakness in the quads or hamstrings, the sports therapist may advise a strengthening program once symptoms have subsided.
We know that keeping a teenage athlete from getting grumpy due to rest from sport can be very difficult so there may be cases where a change of activity can help to avoid stressing the knees until symptoms improve, however, they should always be advised to rest when the knees are painful.
Once growth spurts are over, the joints and muscles should settle down and there should be no lasting damage to the knee joints in adulthood.
As always, if your child is complaining of knee pain and you’re not sure what to do or if you need to do anything, consult your GP or please do drop us a line and we’d be more than happy to help.
John Balshaw is currently studying for BSc in Sports Therapy at Coventry University
and as part of his course, he is doing a work placement for 12 months with us at
Elite Therapy and also assisting Nic Sherlock at Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey.
John is pictured here (centre) with Seb Johnson (left) and Nic Sherlock (right).