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Home  /  Conditions  /  Osgood-Schlatter Disease
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Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Is your child complaining of knee pain? Does the knee look a bit swollen and the bone below the kneecap seems bigger? Then the chance is there that your child has Osgood-Schlatter Disease. But don’t worry. Here some information to help you understand what Osgood-Schlatter is, and how we can help your child.

What causes Osgood-Schlatter

Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by irritation of the bone growth plate. Bones do not grow in the middle, but at the ends near the joint, in an area called the growth plate. While a child is still growing, these areas of growth are made of cartilage instead of bone. The cartilage is never as strong as the bone, so high levels of stress the tendon attaches onto can cause the growth plate to begin to hurt and swell.

Activities that put stress on the knee—especially squatting, playing football bending or running uphill (or stadium steps)—cause the tissue around the growth plate to hurt and swell. It also hurts to hit or bump the tender area. Kneeling can be very painful.

Who is most likely effected by Osgood-Schlatter?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is most commonly found in young athletes who play sports that require a lot of jumping and/or running. Because they are still growing and the bone is soft and not fully fused, active 8-15 year old kids are more susceptible to this condition.

The intensity and type of activity also can influence Osgood-Schlatter,- high speed running and jumping being major culprits.

Should you worry?

The short answer is: No.
Osgood Schlatters is a self- limiting condition – meaning you can continue with activity
as long as pain allows. Managing it this way will not cause the condition to worsen or
cause any potential damage to occur.

What you can do to manage symptoms

● If the pain is severe, try to avoid high impact sports that involve running and jumping.
● Try low impact activities instead, such as cycling and swimming, to strengthen
the muscles and maintain cardiovascular fitness.
● Rest/ stop exercise entirely if the swelling and pain get too much.
● Once the pain has stopped, it is important to gradually build up participation in
activities and sport.
● Strategies such as taking short breaks whilst playing team sports allows time for
pain to settle.
Ice and elevation:
● Ice the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes especially after activity and make sure
the skin is protected by wrapping the ice in a towel.
● Elevating the leg after sports if it is painful and swollen can be beneficial.
● Lower limb stretches.

How Swiss Physio can help you.

Education and management of growth related conditions is really effective in
maintaining the child’s sporting activity whilst not aggravating the condition too much.
As well as guiding you through this, the following interventions can also help improve
symptoms or manage symptoms more effectively and allow them to continue with their
high activity levels:
● Strapping and taping
● Eccentrics exercise/strength program
● Soft tissue release/massage
● Shockwave therapy
● Core and functional movement assessment and rehabilitation programs

Less commonly, children can present with Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Syndrome. This
is similar in presentation to Osgood Schlatter’s but the site of inflammation is the site of
insertion of the patella tendon on the inferior pole (Lower point) of the patella.