Sports Injury Clinic

Osgood Schlatter Disease
Common Injuries

Osgood Schlatter Disease

You may well have heard of Osgood Schlatter Disease, your child may even be suffering it.

Here at Jon W Sports Injury, we have developed our specialised program to treat the condition. The program was put together by Jon after extensive years of treating the condition. We now operate the program at our Orpington, Bromley and Virtual clinics

Jon has been asked to speak on the condition many times and has had articles published on international websites. Here is one that we thought we would share with you.

Managing growing pains in children

All too often, when someone between the ages of 10-16 complains of pain in one of their joints, their concerns are dismissed as ‘growing pains’, and it is assumed that the discomfort will subside independently of treatment.

Although it is true that during periods of rapid growth certain parts of your body are more susceptible to pain, it does not mean that when such pain occurs it should be treated with any less care than when it occurs in an older person.

In fact, labelling a young person’s injury as ‘growing pains’ is really doing them a disservice.

The term is too vague, especially considering that it can cover a myriad of different problems which each require their own diagnoses and treatments. To help parents manage what can sometimes be regarded as just ‘growing pains,’ here are the two most common types of injuries that can occur to developing bodies, as well as how to diagnose and treat them.


What is Osgood Schlatter Disease

Osgood Schlatter Disease is when the area at the top of the shin, where the knee tendons join the muscles of the lower leg, becomes inflamed. This injury is common in adolescent people as it affects the “growth plate” of the shinbone. This is called the “tibial tuberosity.”

While someone’s shins are still growing, the top of the bone (where it connects to the knee) is formed of cartilage. This cartilage gradually develops into bone during the final stages of growth.

As cartilage is a soft, pliable substance (in stark contrast to bone), excessive pulling placed upon it by the quadriceps during movements such as jumping and sprinting can put strain on this tissue. The strains can lead to chronic inflammation if these movements are regularly repeated, so children who play a lot of sports are more likely to develop the problem.

Symptoms of Osgood Schlatter Disease

Osgood Schlatter Disease usually manifests itself as pain and swelling just below the kneecap. In healthy individuals, you should be able to feel a hard area between your kneecap and the top of your shin. This is your “tibial tuberosity.”

In those with Osgood Schlatter Disease, this area will be visibly swollen and will likely be visibly protruding. Furthermore, the area will be hot and tender to the touch. In more severe cases, the amount of pain and swelling will reduce mobility in the knee, making it difficult for someone to straighten their leg entirely. Osgood Schlatter Disease usually flares up during sports, and slowly (but not always entirely) subsides when the sufferer is at rest.

People who play sports which involve repetitive squatting and jumping, such as football, basketball and long-jump are particularly likely to develop the problem.

Treating Osgood Schlatter Disease

Osgood Schlatter Disease is usually caused by a weakness or lack of flexibility in the quadriceps. It is this weakness that leads to excess pulling on the tendons that connect the knee to the tibial tuberosity.

Therefore the best way to treat the problem is through stretches and exercises that make the quadriceps more supple. The most common of these involves standing on one leg, and pulling the heel of the other leg into your bottom.

Tightness in your hamstring and calves can also lead to muscular imbalances in the thighs and knee that contribute to the development of Osgood Schlatter Disease. Therefore stretches that target these muscles may also be beneficial. A physiotherapist should prescribe a stretching plan if your child has this problem.

Decreasing activities which put strain on your knees, such as running and jumping should also be done in conjunction with stretching. This break does not need to last long, however, rather just a few weeks if you do daily stretching to strengthen the relevant muscles.

As the pain subsides you can gradually return to sports, just remember to stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings before and afterward.