Osgood Schlatter Disease (OSD) in active kids

10 Jan, 2023

Does your child often complain of knee pain? If they are an active athlete or take part in high-intensity sports and activities, they may be suffering from Osgood-Schlatter Disease (OSD). In this blog, we will explore how OSD is a common cause of knee pain in late childhood and early adolescence, the symptoms, and how it can be treated. 

Osgood Schlatter Disease

What is Osgood Schlatter Disease? 

Osgood Schlatter Disease is a condition that affects the knee joint, where the tendon of the kneecap (the patellar tendon) attaches to the shinbone (the tibia). In children with OSD, the tendon pulls away and irritates a piece of bone at the lower end of the shinbone, resulting in a tender lump (called apophysitis) and pain in the area below the kneecap.  

OSD commonly affects children aged between 9 to 14 years who have experienced a rapid growth spurt. It generally occurs in approximately 20% of children who are active in sport, compared with 5% of children who are non-active, and in 25-50% of cases it presents bilaterally. This condition is more common in boys than girls. However, as girls’ sports participation continues to increase, it is becoming more prevalent.

Risk Factors for Developing Osgood Schlatter Disease 

Parents always want to ensure their children are safe and healthy. However, it can be hard to keep children out of harm’s way when their lives are full of physical activity and exploration. Although OSD may be unavoidable for some active children, it is still important for parents and carers to be aware of the risk factors for developing this condition and to educate their children on how to mitigate this occurring. 

Risk factors for developing OSD include: 

  • Rapid growth spurt
  • High levels of physical activity, particularly running and jumping
  • Poor flexibility or strength in the muscles around the knee
  • Poor technique during physical activities
  • Poor footwear
  • Muscle imbalances
  • History of trauma to the area

How to prevent and treat OSD  

The best way to prevent OSD is to ensure that your child is engaging in appropriate physical activities and sports and is being supervised by a trained professional. It is also important to ensure that your child is wearing the proper shoes and clothing and that they have a good technique for whichever activity they’re partaking in. 

If your child is diagnosed with OSD by a professional, a great way to treat and prevent the condition from developing further is through Physiotherapy. Stretching before and after physical activity is essential as well as taking regular breaks to avoid overworking the muscles and tendons around the knee. Additionally, Physiotherapy can help your child to maintain strength and flexibility in their legs, hips, and core.

Book in with our team today 

If your child has been diagnosed with Osgood Schlatter Disease, reach out to our friendly team today to book a Physiotherapy appointment. Our team can help your child with treatment, recovery, and long-term prevention of the condition. Our experienced Physiotherapy team are here to provide the highest quality of care and support for your child. 

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