About Osgood Schlatters Disease

 

In 1903, two surgeons by the name of Robert Osgood (1873-1956) and Carl Schlatter (1864-1934) described the disease we now know as Osgood Schlatters disease.  It is one of the most common causes in knee pain in children and young adults.Osgood Schlatters disease can occur in either leg but usually one is more severe than the other.  It’s caused by the growth plate growing too fast pulling the cartilage away from your shin bone. This causes the lumps under your knee caps and the pain you feel. It can be extremely painful and is often hard to get rid of if you are constantly active.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of Osgood Schlatters disease are swollen and tender lumps that are directly below your knee caps. The lumps can vary in size with the more severe the Osgood Schlatters disease. The bigger the lump the more severe it is usually and the smaller it the less severe it is. Now this isn’t always the case but more often than not the bigger bumps usually indicates a more severe case of Osgood Schlatters disease. These lumps can be extremely painful especially if they are bumped or hit. It can also be painful while performing physical activities. Another symptom is pain around the knees and knee caps. The pain will become worse when you are performing physical activities and after. Tightness of the surrounding muscles, especially the quadriceps is another symptom that is very common. Stretching before and after physical activities will help prevent Osgood Schlatters disease and any muscle tightness.

Causes of Pain

The pain is going to be different in all people; some might have a mild pain while others will find it very difficult to perform everyday activities such as walking or going up stairs. Children and young adults (9-16) are more likely to be at risk because that is when they are going to hit their growth spurt. Also their bones are softer than adults due to the fact that their bodies are not fully developed which in turn makes the bones weaker. Older people can also get Osgood Schlatters disease for the fact that there bones are also weak because of old age. It is not really common for older people to get Osgood Schlatters disease but there have been cases where they have. This rapid growth combined with strenuous physical activity creates the pain you feel under your knee caps. Pain will become more severe the longer and harder you exercise. It is advised that be very careful when playing sports or doing any sort of physical activity when you have Osgood Schlatters disease because it will only get worse the longer you keep running on it. The best thing is to take time off from any physical activities.

Causes of Swelling

Osgood Schlatters disease X-Ray

Osgood Schlatters Disease X-Ray

The inflammation or lump under the knee cap comes from the quadriceps muscle contracting and pulling the patellar tendon away from the shin bone, this causing there to be a separation between the cartilage and the bone. When the knees are rested new bone is formed over the spot where the cartilage and bone separated and that is where the lump comes from. The lump size also is determined by how active you are and what type of physical activity is being performed. The size of the lump can increase in size and tenderness depending on the amount of stress it is put through. If you are very active this will lead to the lump swelling severely and becoming very painful. The sports that put the most stress on the knees are running and jumping sports such as basketball or football.

Length

The pain can last only a couple weeks to a month or until they are finished growing and the cartilage and bone can finally be formed back together. The length of Osgood Schlatters disease really depends on the individual person because if they decide to take time to rest then they will recover a lot faster than someone who kept performing physical activities. The bone and cartilage can only be formed back together when the patella tendon stops tugging away from the shin bone. That is either when you are done growing or have taken an extensive time off from activities or putting any sort of stress on your knees. Until one of those two things happen you are going to have to either deal with the pain or find an alternative way. A great alternate would be a brace which would greatly reduce the stress and pain that is put on your knees but remember that would only be a temporary fix. The best way would be to take time off and let you knees fully heal so then the fix would be permanent and you would no longer have any pain or discomfort.

Treatments

There are treatments for Osgood Schlatters disease and some are more effective then others. Each person will react differently to each treatment so best way to figure out which one would work best is to try them until you find one that works for you. Some effective treatments for Osgood Schlatters disease include RICE, stretching, bands and surgery. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation and is the most popular way to treat it. It is also one of the most conservative ways to treat Osgood Schlatters disease. If you go into the doctors RICE is what they are going to tell you to do. It does work but it mostly works for slightly reducing the pain and making sure it doesn’t get worse. It doesn’t cure Osgood Schlatters disease. Stretching is another very effective way to not only treat Osgood Schlatters disease but also prevent any other muscle injury. This treatment is often overlooked but if you stretch daily you will see the difference in no time. Anyone with Osgood Schlatters disease should seriously consider stretching as a form of treatment. It is free and will not only help reduce the pain in your knees but also prevent other injuries as well. Wearing jumper’s knee bands won’t help cure it but it will help with the pain when performing physical activities. It helps by lessening the pain so it is tolerable so you won’t have to take any time off from your physical activities. Surgery is a last resort and has some requirements for it to be fully successful. For one you have to be fully developed because the surgery could damage your growth and you have to have Osgood Schlatters disease severely. What the surgery does is take out any bone fragments that are still in your knee and helps relieve the pain. Those are some of the common treatments for Osgood Schlatters disease.

Prevention

The best way to prevent Osgood Schlatters disease is to stretch daily. Doing this will greatly improve your chances of not getting it and also prevent any other injuries. Also if you begin to feel the pain under your knees try to take some time off and see your doctor to find out if you are getting Osgood Schatters disease. If you do in fact have it you can use some of the treatments above or ask your doctor for his recommendations. Remember that it is very hard to prevent Osgood Schlatters disease but there are great ways to help lessen the pain.