Osgood-Schlatter’s disease is considered an osteochondrosis condition. These are a group of conditions that are related to a fault in the development of the growing parts of the bones. As a result, they are conditions that usually occur during the pre-teen to mid teen years of life.
Osgood-Schlatter’s disease affects the tibial tubercle, which can be felt at the upper part of the shin bone (tibia), just below the kneecap (or patella). It is the spot that connects the patella ligament between the patella and the tibia. Tension through the patella tendon can cause a disruption to the growth of the tibial tubercle.
Osgood Schlatter’s disease usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 15. It is believed to be seen more often in boys, and particularly in kids that are very active.
The tibial tubercle is often sore and may be swollen. Typically the pain becomes worse with activity – especially any activity that requires bending of the knee.
HOW CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP WITH OSGOOD-SCHLATTER’S DISEASE?
Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter’s disease revolves around an attempt to minimise discomfort and reduce any pull on the patella tendon against the tibial tubercle.
- RICER; Ice, rest, and compression through strapping may all be of assistance in the short term.
- Treatment for particularly tight muscles through stretching or physiotherapy may assist with reducing tension at the tibial tuberosity.
- Footwear or orthotics may be particularly helpful in maintaining the alignment of the knee, reducing tension on the tibial tuberosity.
- Taping or bracing of the knee is also effective in reducing the traction forces on the tendon therefore reducing pain.
Load management is also key for this knee pain. It may be that the teenager has had a lump on the knee for a while but suddenly changed sports from swimming to basketball so from pool to land. The vibration forces that the knee goes through with jumping, bouncing exercises can irritate the tibial tuberosity. Graduated loading is important to reduce pain and return back to sport.