Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is one of the most common causes of knee pain in young people. It is an inflammation of the bone, cartilage, and/or tendon at the top of the shinbone (tibia), where the tendon from the kneecap (patella) attaches. Most often only one knee is affected.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease usually strikes active young people around the beginning of their growth spurts, the approximately 2-year period during which they grow most rapidly. Growth spurts can begin any time between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls, or 10 and 15 for boys. Teens increase their risk for OSD if they play sports involving running, twisting, and jumping, such as basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, tennis, and gymnastics.
Growth spurts make kids vulnerable because their bones, muscles, and tendons are growing quickly and not always at the same time. With exercise, differences in size and strength between the muscle groups place unusual stress on the growth plate at the top of the shinbone.
- pain that increases with exercise
- relief from pain with rest
- swelling or tenderness under the knee and over the shinbone
- limping after exercise
- tightness of the muscles surrounding the knee (the hamstring and quadriceps muscles)
- flat feet (arch disorders) are thought to increase the risk of OSD. This is due to the excessive rotation at the foot (pronation) and knee during activity
Symptoms that aren’t typical of Osgood-Schlatter Disease include pain at rest, thigh pain, or very severe pain that awakens kids from sleep or makes them cry may need further investigations.
OSD usually goes away when a teenager’s bones stop growing, usually between 14 and 18 years. Typical treatments may include:
- Rest is the key to pain relief. Active rest can be helpful ie: resting from aggravating activity while doing low impact training instead.
- Ice and heat therapy
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Training modifications (altering type of sport and/or surface sport played on and/or frequency and intensity)
- Orthotics insoles – At David Brown Podiatry we can prescribe and fit bespoke insoles to your specific needs. These can be modified to fit any footwear and can be adapted for any sport. We also have a range of off the shelf orthotics for those that have not finished growing yet. David’s experience of professional sport will help in choosing the right orthotics and exercise program to suit your needs.
- Kinesiology taping
- Lifestyle modifications and dietary advice (ie increasing foods that reduce inflammation and decreasing foods that increase inflammation in the body such as fatty/sugary foods).