Osgood Schlatters Disease – Overuse Injury

Osgood SchlattersOsgood Schlatters disease is not an actual disease. Rather, it’s an overuse injury. It is most common in children and young athletes.

Osgood Schlatters (OS) is a painful swelling of the bump on the upper part of the shinbone, just below the knee. This bump is called the anterior tibial tubercle. Our helpful knee diagram can assist you in better understanding where the pain is located.

OS is more common in children between 9 and 16 years of age. In addition, it is more frequently seen in boys than girls and usually during a period of rapid growth.

Causes

Osgood Schlatters is caused by recurring tension and pressure on the kneecap tendon around the front muscles of the thigh. This pressure is usually caused from repetitive overuse of the knee.

Movement such as running and jumping may cause OS. In addition, poor flexibility in the quadriceps & hamstrings add pressure to the knee which increases the risk for developing the syndrome.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms include knee pain while running & jumping. Also, participating in any activity that puts strain on the knee can become problematic. Another symptom may be swelling.

Along with pain, these symptoms may limit your ability to do activity that require full range of (knee) motion. Usually only one knee is affected. However, 20% of the cases have experienced Osgood Schlatters in both knees.

Diagnosis

A physical examination to review your knee symptoms by your doctor is common. X-rays are not required to diagnose Osgood Schlatters. However, your doctor may need X-rays to examine the knee pain more thoroughly.

Basic at home self-diagnosis can help, but always consult a professional for a second opinion. This is especially important if any knee pain problem persists.

Treatment

RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate) is highly recommended. To learn about RICE, click here.

In addition, regular stretching of the quadriceps and hamstrings will help. On occasion, doctors recommend wearing knee straps (check out knee straps, pads and braces here) to relieve pressure during activity that require full knee movement.

Talk to your doctor about anti-inflammatory medication. Do not take them without speaking to your doctor first. Osgood Schlatters can be quite painful, but usually resolves itself within 12 to 24 months.

Prevention

The numerous injuries that are usually caused by this disorder sometimes go unnoticed. Prevention may not be possible but follow the tips below to hopefully prevent the onset of Osgood Schlatters:

Did you have Osgood Schlatters growing up? Please comment below.

Article last updated on January 7th, 2019, first published on May 14, 2013.

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