Osgood Schlatter’s Disease

Osgood Schlatter’s is a very common cause of knee pain in young people. It is a condition where the bony lump below your knee cap becomes painful and swollen during and after exercise.

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Osgood Schlatter’s

The reason for this pain is the main thigh muscle (Quadriceps), which attaches to the bony lump can get tight during a growth spurt.
When you play sports, the muscle then pulls on the bone causing pain and swelling. The more this happens, the larger the bony lump becomes.
It usually affects those:

  • Between 10 and 15 years old
  • Who are having a “growth spurt”
  • Involved in sports, especially those involving running and jumping

What Causes Osgood Schlatter’s?

Physical activity involving running, twisting and jumping increases the stress placed on bones and muscles. This then increases the risk of developing Osgood Schlatter’s disease in the growing child.

Symptoms are usually worse during and immediately after activity and subside with rest. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain that worsens with exercise
  • Relief from pain with rest
  • Swelling under the knee or at the top of the shin bone (tibia)
  • Limping after exercise
  • Tightness of muscles around the knee

How can Osgood Schlatter’s be managed?

  • Exercise modification
  • Rest and ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (please discuss with pharmacist or GP before)
  • Physiotherapy stretches – – 3-4 x each day when warm, after school or training, after a shower etc

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Bend your knee so your heel comes towards your bottom and grasp with your hand keeping your knees tucked together.
Push your hips slightly forwards to feel a stretch at the front of your thigh.
Hold for 30seconds, repeat x4 each leg.
(See image)

Lying Quadriceps Stretch

Lying on the floor, hold your ankle and bring your heel towards your bottom, keeping your knees together.
Hold for 30seconds, repeat x4 each leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Sitting on the floor, keep one leg straight and touch your toes.
Hold for 30seconds, repeat x4 each leg. (see image)

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand with one leg just in front of the other, bend the knee back and rest your weight onto it.
Stick your bottom out with your chest up and feel the stretch down the back of your thigh and behind your knee.

Hold for 30seconds, repeat x4 each leg.

Recovery from Osgood Schlatter’s

Once the symptoms have eased, it is important to continue with the stretches, especially while your child is growing and playing football regularly!

Osgood Schlatter’s will not cause any long term adult knee condition. In the majority of cases, the symptoms will often disappear once the child has stopped growing. Symptoms may reappear during periods of growth spurts and thus management should restart.

Some children may develop a longer term painless bony lump below the knee.