Osgood Schlatter Disease – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Is your kid in his teens and suffering from an abnormal pain in the legs? He may be suffering from Osgood Schlatter, a common knee condition in teenagers.

Read on to know all about the Osgood Schlatter Disease. Also check out the Osgood Schlatters Disease pictures to know all about the syndrome.

What is Osgood Schlatter Disease

It is a health condition that arises from inflammation of tissues and tendons around the knee region. It is common in children who participate in sports activities like

  • Running
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Ballet
  • Skating

The condition was earlier more common in boys. But with more and more girls taking up sports activities, this disease is not a male disease any more. It is said to affect 20% of all athletic adolescents.

In medical terms, this disorder is known as ‘Tibial Tubercle Apophyseal Traction injury’. It is also called ‘Osteochondrosis’.

Osgood Schlatters Causes

The health condition results from repeated stress on the tibia of the legs. Running, jumping and similar activities put constant tension on the epiphyseal plate or growth plate over the shinbone of the leg. This plate is found only in growing children. An epiphyseal line replaces this plate in adults.

The constant pressure on the knees leads the surrounding tissues and tendons to swell. A bump is formed that varies in size from person to person. It appears just below the knee and becomes painful.

Other causes behind the appearance of this disorder are:

Cold Injuries

This happens when the knee is exposed to extreme cold temperatures. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to frostbite which can result in collapse of the joint cartilage.

Heredity

Osgood Schlatter syndrome is often inherited. Many children are born with defective growth plates and deformed skeletal structure.

Neurological Problems

Children who are born with neurological defects can also be victims of this disorder.

Metabolic Disorder

Hormonal defects and improper functioning of kidney have adverse effects on the growth plates. Such health conditions may cause Osgood Schlatter syndrome in kids.

Drugs and Radioactive Therapies

Osgood Schlatter syndrome also arises in children who suffer from cancer.  Chemotherapies and steroids used for cancer treatment often impact bone growth and cause this disorder to surface.

Low blood supplies in the knee region can another cause behind this disease.

Osgood Schlatter Symptoms

Osgood Schlatters
Picture 1 – Osgood Schlatters Disease
Source – ossmc

Painful swelling in the knee is possibly the most visible of Osgood Schlatters symptoms. The swelling or inflammation is the natural resistance of the body against stress. Other notable symptoms include

  • Tenderness under knees
  • Compactness of muscles around the knee
  • Formation of a bump in the knee known as anterior tibial tubercle.
  • Shooting pain in one or both knees during exercise
  • Walking difficulties after exercise
  • Knee pain that goes away with rest

If the pain is very severe and wakes up the sufferer from sleep, it is time to get immediate treatment.

Osgood Schlatter Disease Effects

Osgood Schlatter syndrome is usually a mild disorder. However, improper care of the knees can have some long term effects on it. Even after the pain goes away, a bump remains in the knee region. These painless bumps stay on even after the child has reached adulthood. In some cases, these bumps remain throughout life. In rare cases, a bony projection is formed under the kneecap. To remove these painful bony outgrowths due to Osgood Schlatters Disease surgery is the only option. 60% people who suffer from this disorder as a kid feel pain during kneeling in their later years.

Osgood Schlatter Diagnosis

Osgood Schlatter
Picture 2 – Osgood Schlatters Disease Picture
Source – indianorthopaedics

This disorder is diagnosed by a number of physical examinations. X-ray test is sometimes done to find out if lime salts have got deposited around the tissues in the knees. Doctors also try to find out if the patient has a family history of the disorder.

Osgood Schlatter Disease Treatment

Unlike many other knee conditions, this is a mild disorder. Osgood Schlatter treatment can be generally done in home. Taking rest for one or two days may help lessen the pain. In case of more pain, taking a break from sports for about a month may be necessary.

In case of more severe pain, consulting a doctor is advisable. Doctors normally suggest over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen for immediate pain relief. Ice or heat treatment is also suggested. These include applying moist heat or ice to the paining area 15-20 minutes before or after sports activities.

If the pain still refuses to go away, complete rest for longer periods is necessary. Doctor’s often seal the knee with cast or braces to keep restless children away from activities. Sometime after the pain recedes, the sufferer may return to activities again. However, sports activities should be taken up gradually and not at once. Taking up vigorous activities will again put tremendous stress on the area. The pain may come back again and become more intense. It may impact the sporting career or even, normal movement of a person. In worse cases, it may lead to chronic pain.

Osgood Schlatter Syndrome Prevention

It is best to prevent the disease before it causes suffering. This disorder is generally caused by excessive sports activities which puts the knee under pressure. Here are some steps that children can take to keep this disease away.

Knee Pads

Wear special knee pads. Basketball knee pads are available in most sports goods stores. These can be bought and worn on the knees. The pads ease the stress on the knees from activities like jumping and running. They also protect the knee from getting hit by falling on or hitting against rough surfaces.

Warm-up

Proper warm-up is necessary before starting sports activities. You must have noticed sportspersons warming up before practice. This is done to loosen up the body muscles before starting strenuous activities. It helps the body cope with stress from activities.

Stretching

Stretching counters many sports-related ailments like muscle pull and knee injuries. Stretching for 5-10 minutes after a long workout session helps soothe the muscles and tissues. This eases the tension on the knee region.

Trainer Observation

It is best to perform sports activities under the observation of a trainer. A trained coach can monitor whether sports activities are being performed with proper safety. This also helps children learn how to perform sports safely.

With rest, proper medication and safe sporting, Osgood Schlatters Disease can be cured. It is not a very serious disorder if you treat it in its early stages. If you suspect that your kid has got this disorder, consult a doctor and the pain will vanish in days.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osgood%E2%80%93Schlatter_disease

http://www.medicinenet.com/osgood-schlatter_disease/article.htm

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Growth_Plate_Injuries/default.asp

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/o/osgood_schlatter_disease/causes.htm

http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/aches/osgood.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osgood-schlatter-disease/DS00392

Published on December 3rd 2010 by  under Bones, Joints and Muscles.
Article was last reviewed on 3rd September 2011.

2 Responses to “Osgood Schlatter Disease – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment”

  1. Warming up, stretches, and knee pads go a long way with this condition.

  2. Frm my experience..i m sad abt it..no signs of healing..knee ligaments also weakening..calcium plays any role?

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