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Osgood Schlatters Disease - advice & treatment
Conquer Osgood Schlatters Disease by treating yourself at home
Unfortunately, with Osgood Schlatter's Disease, you can't really treat it and make it go away permanently, because once it starts causing a problem, you can rely on it returning whenever you overdo the sporting activities. The good news is, it is a self-limiting disease in that once your growth plates below the knee fuse, you will no longer have the problem (see the radio-graph below).
What is the cause of Osgood Schlatters?
When you're young you have rapid bone growth in all areas, and one such area is in the long bone above the knee, and the long bone below the knee. This makes you taller, sometimes what seems by the day! The problem is, your upper leg muscles that are attached to these bones, don't grow at quite the same rate. In fact, there is always a delay, because the bones grow, which triggers the muscles to elongate, meaning there is a time lag while the muscles catch up.
If it was the other way around and your muscles grew first, they would be all baggy and loose like old elastic, which would mean your joints wouldn't work, you couldn't stand up straight and you'd be falling all over the place.
This tightening of the muscle means there is stress and strain on the attachment point on the boney prominence of the tibia, just below the knee, known as a tubercle or apophysis. It has no direct articulation with the knee joint, and below the age of about 11, the tibial tubercle is still cartilaginous. Between 11 and 14 the tubercle becomes harder and begins to fuse to the larger growth plate bone.
Between 14 to 18 greater fusion occurs as the tubercle gradually becomes one with the upper epyphysis of the tibial bone. Beyond 18 the tubercle is properly fused with the rest of the tibia.
Repetitive exercise and sport micro trauma the young cartilaginous tubercle where the patellar tendon meets and joins with the bump on the bone. Thus we call Osgood Schlatters Disease an overuse injury. It is bilateral in only about 20% of cases.
Sports such as football, rugby, running, jumping, squash, badminton, netball, gymnastics and basketball are major contributors to the onset of Osgood Schlatters Disease. But try telling a football mad youngster the only real cure is to stop playing and rest up for a while, and try to imagine the reaction you are going to get.
How common is Osgood Schlatters Disease?
It is very common in boys between the ages of 12 and 15, and is the most common overuse injury in childhood. Girls seem to get it earlier, usually between 8 and 12 years.
Osgood Schlatters Disease presents as pain, swelling and tenderness just below the knee and the anterior tibial plateau. Feel down until you can feel a bump on the bone. That's it, you've found it!
With prolonged trauma, the bump may have even grown considerably bigger than when you last noticed it as continued trauma aggravates it and lays down new growth making it appear visibly larger.
If you look at the radiograph picture (above) you can see some separation of the tibial apophysis from the upper end of the tibial plateau (arrowed). The tendon seems to remain fully intact as it is stronger and more resiliant than the cartilaginous material that it is attached too, which micro tears and in this case suffers partial detachment.
So what can we do to reduce the severity of Osgood Schlatters Disease?
Stretch and strengthen the affected muscles, in this case the quad muscles, so that you build up a bit of slack and take the strain off the attachment point.
The immediate thing to do is rest the leg. Quad exercises. Ice the knee regularly and especially after exercise. Understand your pain threshold and if it gets to the point where you can't take it any longer, take some medication and make your appointment (see below).
What will you do during my treatment session with you and what will you show me?
Osgood Schlatters Disease Treatment and Recovery- Mostly it is going to be the younger generation that will suffer with this. If that is you, ask your mum or dad to bring you to The Haven Healing Centre for treatment. You will only need to come once. During your visit I will show you all of the treatments that work towards recovery, and all of the exercises you need to do to ensure that you are not overly bothered by it during your future training and sporting activities. Remember you will eventually grow out of it. If you fancy getting this knee and leg pain sorted, I invite you to visit The Haven Healing Centre in Blagdon for a treatment and exercise session. Appointments and a treatment price list are available by clicking here. I look forward to welcoming you soon. Phil.
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Note: DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
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