Osgood Schlatter Disease – is it really a disease?
You may have heard the term ‘Osgood Schlatter Disease’ which is often referred to in medical literature or information on the internet as a ‘disease’, but Osgood Schlatter is not a disease, it’s actually what’s called a traction apophysitis.
Traction apophysitis has two different meanings, traction is the word for pulling and apophysitis is inflammation to the bone. What happens with the Osgood Schlatter condition is that the quadricep muscles which run down the front of the femur converge through the kneecap and they pull at the bony landmark below the knee called the tibial tuberosity.
Repeated contraction of the quadricep muscles pulls and irritates the bony point where the muscles attach to the tibia. It’s very common with young girls and boys or pre-adolescent youngsters who are very active.
Often around this age they go through a growth spurt, so their femurs grow and it puts the quadricep muscles under increased strain and tension. Couple this with doing lots of sports, exercise, running, jumping, football and basketball etc then with repeated use the tibial tuberosity becomes inflamed, tender and sore and can become very painful.
So the term Osgood Schlatter Disease can be misleading as it’s merely a repetitive strain injury, albeit a painful one. But with the right assessment and treatment advice it’s a condition that can be easily treated in the comfort of your own home.
3 reasons why Osgood Schlatter won’t resolve
Osgood Schlatter is a chronic condition, so if it’s left untreated it tends not to go away and there are three main reasons why.
The first reason is that it’s not actually Osgood Schlatter, you’ve actually developed something different, like a meniscal tear or a collateral ligament injury. So it’s important that you get the condition assessed first so that you’re treating the right condition in the correct way.
The second reason for Osgood Schlatter not resolving is that because you have not identified what activity is causing it and taken steps to reduce or stop that activity then it will not resolve. You’ll just continue to further aggravate and irritate the condition.
The third reason is that because people embark on aggressive stretching and rehabilitation in their desperation to resolve Osgood Schlatter they end up causing more damage because the tissues are just not ready for stretching. The tissues become inflamed and painful, so they need to be given time to calm down before you can start rehabilitating the tissues.
So first and foremost stop the exercise or activity which causes the aggravation. Then start to bring the inflammation under control with some ice packs. The video below has some information on the best way to ice Osgood Schlatter.
When the pain starts to reduce and it’s feeling a little bit easier then you can start to rehabilitate those tissues with gentle stretching. The rehabilitation process is gentle and prolonged. It’s a marathon not a sprint and it’s something you have to do over a considerable period of time with patience and dedication so you don’t aggravate it further.
Treatment for Osgood Schlatter
If you want more information on Osgood Schlatter then get your symptoms assessed first with our pain assessment tool.
Once you’ve identified the likely cause you’ll be able to download a treatment guide. It will tell you everything you need to know about Osgood Schlatter and it will help you to manage the pain effectively.