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What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

By: Nuala Genyk, MScPT, HAAD

Does your teenager have knee pain? It could be Osgood-Sclatter disease; a painful knee condition that typically affects growing children. It is an inflammation of the patellar tendon and growth plate just below the knee at the tibial tuberosity. It is characterized by pain at the front of the knee that is worse with activity and better with rest. Some adolescents may also have a painful bump where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibial tuberosity just below the knee.

What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Sclatter disease most often occurs during growth spurts; as bones, muscles and tendons are changing rapidly. As physical activity puts additional strain on tendons, children who participate in running and jumping activities are more at risk. Consequently, it is classified as an overuse injury.

How is it diagnosed?

Osgood-Sclatter is diagnosed by physical examination. Physiotherapists are trained to diagnose this condition amongst other common knee conditions including patellar tendonitis and patellofemoral syndrome. Occasionally, your Doctor may require x-rays to rule out more serious conditions.

How is it treated?

The primary goal when treating this condition is reducing pain and swelling over the tibial tuberosity. Osgood-Sclatter disease is usually treated with a combination of activity modification (full rest is rarely recommended) and physiotherapy. Physiotherapy treatment may include: return to sport recommendations, manual therapy, exercise prescription, taping and anti-inflammatory techniques.

Will my child need to stop participating in their activities?

Full rest is rarely recommended when managing this condition. Our team can guide your child through their rehabilitation and give them ways to safely continue playing sports and doing what they enjoy.

My child has knee pain, what should I do?

If you think your child may have Osgood-Sclatter disease, or is complaining of knee pain, we can help. Please call our clinic at (02)441-3316 to book an appointment or discovery call with one of our pediatric physiotherapists.


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