Osgood Schlatter Disease is a repetitive stress injury that affects physically active adolescent children in their growing years. It is a result of the constant stress on the patellar tendon, just below the kneecap, due to extensive running and jumping activity. The key symptom of the disease is pain and swelling just below the kneecap of either of both legs. In addition, you may observe a bony bump forming on your shin just below your patella. Treatment of Osgood Schlatter Disease is unnecessary in most cases, as the symptom (except for the bony bump) normally disappear once you have stopped growing. If the pain is significant, you may be prescribed pain killer medications. There are also physical therapy exercises to ease the condition. Another name for this condition is Osgood Schlatter Syndrome.
Osgood Schlatter Syndrome – Risk Factors
The key risk factor for this condition is participation in sports that require lots of running, jumping and sudden changes in direction. Soccer, basketball, rugby and even ballet are examples.
At one time, gender was a risk factor, as adolescent boys developed the condition more frequently than girls. However, this gap has now narrowed as more adolescent girls have become involved in sports.
Age is also a risk factor. Osgood Schlatter Disease is primarily present during the growth years, which are 10-13 for girls and 12-14 for boys.
Due to the constant running and jumping activity of children in certain sports, the quadricep muscles at the front of your thigh are constantly pulling on the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone. This tendon is known as the patellar tendon and it attaches to the shinbone at a “growth plate”. The pulling on the growth plate produces the pain and swelling that is characteristic of the condition. In addition, in some children, the shin reacts to the pulling by growing extra bone in the growth plate area. You will feel this extra bone as a bump just below the patella.
The diagram at the start of this page illustrates the development of Osgood Schlatter Disease.
Symptoms Of Osgood Schlatter Disease
They main symptom of Osgood Schlatter Syndrome is pain and swelling just below your kneecap. The severity of the pain and swelling increases during running and/or jumping activity and decreases when you are less active. The pain and swelling can be under either or both kneecaps. It will disappear once you have stopped growing.
You may also notice a bony bump under your kneecap after a while. This bump will likely be permanent, athough it will not impair your knee or leg movements.
Treatment Of Osgood Schlatter Disease
As mentioned above, the knee pain and swelling of Osgood Schlatter Disease usually disappears once you have stopped growing, so treatment is not really necessary. However, you may need to use a basic over the counter medication like aspirin to control the pain.
If you can do so, take a break from running, jumping and kneeling activity every now again to allow the pain to subside. If you must, find another athletic activity to participate in during your “rest” period, that is less demanding on your knees. Swimming and cycling are good examples.
Wearing a knee strap over the patella tendon can take some of the tension away from the tendon and provide additional pain relief.
In cases of severe pain, apply ice or a cold compress to the painful area for additional pain relief.
You can also opt for an exercise program to stretch your quadricep muscles and reduce the tension of the patellar tension. That will also help to reduce the pain and swelling over that tendon due to Osgood Schlatter Disease.