Osgood-Schlatter Disease in Children

What is Osgood Schlatter’s and how does it affect Children?

Osgood Schlatter’s disease is irritation of the growth plate by the tendon that connects that knee to the tibia (patellar tendon). This disease is very common and affects around 1 in 5 adolescent athletes. It usually presents first with pain on the front, lower part of the knee and can also show a visible knob. The disease can cause the area to become inflamed and painful, especially during and after physical activity. Though it is not known why it occurs in some children and not in others, it is thought to be caused by excessive exertion on the knees due to running, jumping, and playing sports. It typically occurs when children are experiencing growth spurts or from ages 8-13 in girls and 10-15 in boys because the muscles are still developing.what osgood-schlatters looks like in children with anatomy graphic

For most children, Osgood Schlatter’s resolves itself when the tibia finishes fusing together with the tendons and connective tissues.

Treatment for Osgood Schlatter Disease

Though the disease will usually “cure” itself, there are some things that can be done to treat the symptoms, while one is experiencing it. Resting the knee, elevating it, and icing can all help drain any excess swelling and inflammation, which can help alleviate the pain. When pain presents while doing physical activity, it is also suggested to take breaks from the activity. Before physical activity even begins stretching the quadriceps and hamstrings can also help eliminate some of the extra stress that would be put on the knees, which causes pain. Support the patella through the use of a brace. This helps to reduce shock to the knee and cause less friction to the patellar tendon, which can reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. The DeRoyal Osgood Schlatters Band provides tension on the tendon, reducing the irritation.

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