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Osgood Schlatters Disease

Osgood-Schlatter condition causes inflammation of joint bone and surrounding tissue like cartilage and tendon at the point where the tendon joins the patella or kneecap. This condition affects the tibia or shinbone and causes pain on the knee. The condition occurs when tiny micro fractures occur on the tibia or the bony bump that grows on the lower leg bone. Osgood-Schlatter condition affects young men and women in their early teens when there is an episode of a growth spurt.

The condition is short lived and may subside and heal when a child takes enough rest and refrains from strenuous activities that could cause strain on the knees such as running, jumping and athletics. Growth spurts increase the risk of suffering from this disease because the bones, tendons, and muscles of children grow quickly causing the likelihood of strain on the joint cartilage and tendons.

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Children are also very active during the puberty and with increased exercise, the variations in strength and size between groups of muscles can lead to more stress on the growth plate above the shinbone. The growth plate is the part of cartilage at the end of bone, which experiences more growth of bones. This part is usually weak and susceptible to injuries when subjected to strains from exercises.

Causes of Osgood-Schlatter condition

Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by strain that is put on the growth plate of the joints in arms and legs. The cartilage tissue at the end of the bone forms the growth plate. This tissue is not strong like the bone and when there is strain on it, it can result to swelling and pain. Activities like bending or change in direction swiftly as witnessed when one is playing soccer, ballet, volley ball and basketball may result to the strain.

Athletic activities like running and jumping are also responsible in causing the stress on cartilage. The strain causes the thigh muscles known as quadriceps to pull on the connecting tissue, which attaches the shinbone and the kneecap. With repeated strain, the tendon pulls away slightly from the shinbone, something that leads to inflammation of the cartilage.

When the tendon pulls away, the body may try to fill the gap through initiation of a new bone growth. The new growing bone is what causes a bony lump in that part of the joint. Although previously, the condition was witnessed more in boys than girls, this aspect is changing as more girls are taking part in sports activities. When the condition is caused by growth spurt, it is able to resolve on its own when the rapid growth period stops.

Once the bones stop growing rapidly, the condition heals on its own. Girls are more likely to suffer the condition at an earlier age than boys because girls experience puberty much earlier. In boys, the condition is more at ages of between 13 to 14 years but in girls, it is more prevalent at ages between 11 and 12 when growth spurt is experienced respectively.

Osgood-Schlatter disease is not a disease as such but what is referred to as overuse condition or injury. The pain experienced after suffering the condition tends to resolve with a period of 12 to 24 months as the growth of bones slows down after the growth spurt period.

What are the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter condition?

Some of the symptoms experienced when a child suffers from Osgood-Schlatter disease are such as pain and swelling accompanied by tenderness of the joint part just below the kneecap or the upper shinbone bony prominence. The pain usually worsens when a child is involved in exercise and other strenuous activities like soccer, football, running, gymnastics, figure skating, and tennis.

If your child complaints of pain on the joint or kneecap especially after climbing stairs, running or jumping, you may need to consult a doctor knee. However, the condition can improve when the child takes some rest. Another symptom is tightness of muscles that surround the knee joints such as the quadriceps or thigh muscles and hamstring.

If a child limps after an exercise and gets relief of the pain following a rest, then this may show that is suffering from this condition. The pain experienced may differ from one person to another, and some will have mild pain while others may experience constant and discomforting pain. The pain may manifest on and off until a child gets out of the growth spurt. The risk factors associated with this condition include age, sex, and involvement in sports activities.

Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease

Although the condition improves on its own when a child passes the growth spurt and minimizes involvement in strenuous activities, if the pain becomes more discomforting, you may need to consult a doctor to examine the child and offer medication. Mild pain killers may be recommended by the doctor to help ease the pain and inflammation.

In addition, physical therapy may also help to treat the complication. A therapist can teach a child how to exercise and stretch the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles thus reducing the tension on the area of the kneecap that is affected, especially the part where the tendon connects to the shinbone.

There are also home remedies that can help deal with the condition such as resting the joints and refraining from activities that stress the knee joints such as running and jumping. Ice may be applied on the affected area to easy pain and swelling. A patellar tendon strap that fits the leg below the kneecap may be used to stabilize the knee joint when exercising.

Osgood Schlatters Disease – Pictures

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