Adolescent Growth Injury Treatment: Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease & Physiotherapy
Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease is a common cause of knee pain in young athletes. It causes pain, tenderness and inflammation just below the knee, over the tibial tuberosity (the bump at the top of the shin) (1, Figure 1). This occurs with high levels of physical activity during a “growth spurt”.
Growth Plate Injury
Activities such as running and jumping sports cause additional strain on the growth plate. Growth plates are susceptible to stress and are relatively weak during a “growth spurt”. A growth plate is an area of the bone where bone growth occurs. At the tibial tuberosity there is a growth plate which is where the quadricep tendon attaches. The most rapid “growth spurt” occurs from ages 11-13 in girls and from ages 12-14 in boys (3). Growth plates eventually close; this can vary between the ages of 16-19 in females and 18-21 in males.
In some cases you can get enlargement of the bone where the tendon inserts while in more severe cases the tendon can pull off the bone (avulsion).
Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease Physiotherapy Treatment
As these conditions are generally caused by overuse the primary treatment for these conditions involves removing the athlete from the aggravating activities and employing the RICE routine: REST (from aggravating activity), ICE (20 minutes one, 1 hour off), COMPRESSION (bandage – to reduce swelling), ELEVATION (raise body part above heart) (4).
Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease Image, see: Figure 1
Physiotherapy will allow the fastest and safest return to activity.
After a full assessment, your physiotherapist may employ some of the following treatment technique:
- Strengthening program – specifically increasing the strength of VMO and gluteus medius
- Activity modification
- Training modification and techniques correction
- Orthotics and biomechanical correction
- Electrotherapeutic modalities
Physiotherapy Clinic in Burnaby BC
Please feel free to discuss any problems or queries with a Sports Physiotherapist.
BSc (Kin), MPT
- Nowinski RJ, Mehlman CT (1998). “Hyphenated history: Osgood-Schlatter disease”. Am J. Orthop. 27 (8): 584–5.
- Fig 1: http://www.easyfizzy.co.il/image/users/46789/ftp/my_files/knee-osg.gif
- Yashar A, Loder RT, Hensinger RN (1995). “Determination of skeletal age in children with Osgood-Schlatter disease by using radiographs of the knee”. J Pediatr Orthop 15 (3): 298–301.
- Gholve, PA; Scher, DM; Khakharia, S; Widmann, RF; Green, DW (February 2007). “Osgood Schlatter syndrome.”. Current opinion in pediatrics 19 (1): 44–50.