What is it?
Osgood Schlatter’s disease is a condition that causes pain at the front of the knee in sporty adolescents, typically between the ages of 9 to 16. Whilst the name sounds scary, it is not a disease but simply an overuse condition. Usually, boys are affected more than girls with the condition most likely to occur around the same time as a growth spurt. The condition is due to irritation and damage of the growth plate at the knee cap, and therefore can only occur whilst the growth plate is present (up to the age of 16 years).
Osgood Schlatter’s disease usually features a painful lump below the knee, caused by inflammation of ligaments. Pain usually occurs during physical activity such as running, jumping, squatting and going up/ down stairs.
What are the symptoms?
- Gradual onset of pain in one or both knees
- Pain and swelling below the kneecap (there may be a noticeable lump)
- Tight, painful quadriceps
- Aggravated by running and jumping sports, landing on knee, kneeling
- In severe cases, limping after exercise
Why did I get it?
Some of the risk factors which may contribute to the development of Osgood Schlatter disease include;
- High amounts of activity
- A sudden increase in activity
- Rapid growth spurt
- Inappropriate footwear
- Poor foot posture (excessive pronation)
- Reduced ankle range of motion- joint stiffness
- Muscle tightness or weakness (particularly the quadriceps)
How is it diagnosed?
A thorough clinical examination and history taking is usually sufficient in diagnosing Osgood Schlatter disease. Referral for x-rays are generally not required unless further pathology is suspected.
How can I treat it?
Treatment techniques the podiatrist may use include;
- Rest, ice, compression and elevation
- Stretching/ strengthening program
- Modification of activity levels
- Addressing biomechanical issues
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
- Custom orthotics