What is Osgood-Schlatter’s disease?
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a knee problem that occurs mostly during puberty’s growth spurts. For this reason Osgood-Schlatter disease is chiefly seen in young male sporty adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years old, who participate in sports such as soccer, basketball, skating, and ballet that involve running, jumping, and sudden alterations of direction. Osgood-Schlatter disease is considered an overuse injury of the knee. Usually, the condition in children worries their parents about their future sporting activities, however in most cases Osgood-Schlatter disease can be effective managed and treated by a Physiotherapist.
What is the anatomy of Osgood-Schlatters disease?
The quadriceps muscles of your thigh straighten your knee by pulling on your kneecap. Your kneecap or patella is attached to the top of your shinbone (the tibial tuberosity) by a strong tendon called patellar tendon or patellar ligament as it is sometimes called. Overuse of the quadriceps muscle can contribute to repeated strain on the attachment of the patellar tibia to the tibia resulting in the inflammation of tendon and the tibial tuberosity. This condition is called Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatters disease
- Pain: The pain varies from intermittent and mild to a constant and severe. You feel the pain in the front lower part of your knee which gets worse during, and just after activities such as running, jumping, and kneeling. Persons affected may often limp after exercise due to the pain. Rest will often relieve the pain.
- A bony lump just below the knee: As the tension increase at the site where the patella tendon connects to the tibial tuberosity, the tuberosity may enlarge due to the constant tension, leading to a bony lump just below the knee.
- Tenderness under the knee: In the acute phase, impact of the affected area can be very painful.
- Muscle tightness: Especially of the hamstring and quadriceps muscles.
Physiotherapy Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease
Early diagnosis and proper treatment are vital as this condition could become persistent if left untreated. Physiotherapy treatment is a proven benefit for Osgood Schlatter’s disease cases. Most patients respond well to Physiotherapy procedures. Your physiotherapist may employ a combination of the following procedures to treat your Osgood-Schlatter disease:
- Rest: Avoiding aggravating activities such as weight bearing exercises
- Icing: Applying a cold compression wrap to the area three to five times a day for 15 minutes can ease the pain and swelling. Ice massage with an ice cube is also effective.
- Taping: To reduce the tension on the knee and support it
- Supports / Braces: Patella straps, knee sleeves, knee braces and pads
- Massage: Sports massage techniques and myofascial release techniques
- Laser Therapy: Low Level Laser Therapy is particularly helpful in reducing inflammation and speeding up the recovery.
- Ultrasound: Therapeutic ultrasound is a treatment used by physical therapists in order to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing for patients with Osgood Schlatters Disease.
- Shockwave therapy: Recent study of adolescents suffering from recalcitrant Osgood-Schlatter disease showed that Shockwave Therapy is a safe and valuable treatment. 75% of those with symptomatic knees who were treated reached 100 out of 100 level, and No side effects or long-term complications were reported.
2012 Dec;26(4):218-22. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1325478. Epub 2012 Oct 9.
- Strengthening exercises: For the quadriceps, hamstring and gastrocnemius muscles to stabilize the knee joint
- Rehabilitation: Stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce the tension on the spot, gait training, educating the patient and parents.
- Orthotics: A risk factor for OSD is poor biomechanics while running and jumping, and sometimes that’s caused by flat feet and knock-kneed posture.
Orthotics are customized shoe inserts that support the arch of your foot, align your legs and promote better biomechanics while standing, walking, running and jumping