Osgood Schlatter Syndrome is a well know term for knee pain in children. It is a condition effecting the growth plate , causing inflammation of the bone, cartilage and/or tendon at the top of the shin bone (tibia). It is characterised by a painful lump just below the knee and is most often seen in young adolescents.
Growth spurts, along with vigorous sports are the biggest risk factors in developing Osgood Schlatter Syndrome. When the bone grows at a faster rate than the muscle and tendon, the pull of the tendon as a result, causes repeated stress, pain, swelling an abnormal growth of the bone.
Growth spurts can occur between the ages of 8 to 13 for girls, and 10 to 15 for boys. Osgood Schlatter Syndrome is usually self-limiting once the bones stop growing.
This condition is more prevalent in boys, however with girls becoming more involved in sport this is not always the case, and may be more activity than gender based.
Causes of Osgood Schlatter Syndrome (Knee Pain In Children):
- Growth spurt along with repetitive quadriceps contractions disrupting the growth plate below the knee cap.
- Vigorous exercise, involving jumping, running or twisting, as this puts more strain on the quadriceps tendon that attaches to the top of the patella.
- Injury, as approximately 50% of all children with Osgood Shlatter Syndrome report a prior knee injury.
Symptoms of Osgood Schlatter Syndrome (Knee Pain In Children):
- Pain, swelling and tenderness of the bony prominence just below the patella in one or both knees.
- Pain may range from “on activity only” to constant deliberating pain.
- Knee pain with activity such running, jumping, twisting or going up and down stairs.
- Pain alleviation with rest.
- Loss of strength, bulk and/or tightness of the surrounding muscles, especially the thigh muscle (quadricep).
Treatment for Osgood Schlatter Syndrome (Knee Pain in Children):
- Usually self-limiting within 12 months. However, the knee may remain uncomfortable until growing finishes.
- Activity modification or rest with complete avoidance of activities that are painful for at least a few weeks, followed by gradual return to activity guided by symptom levels.
- Rest, ice, compression to reduce the local pain and swelling.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises for the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles designed by your treating Sports podiatrist.
- Massage, foam rollers and tool assisted release may be beneficial.
- Temporary pain relief medication if necessary.
- Shock-absorbent foot orthoses can decrease torsional stress on the knee and can be prescribed by your sport podiatrist.
- Infrapatella knee strap to reduce forces away from the site of painful bump.
- Surgery is only considered in extreme cases and only once growth has stopped.
At Well Heeled Podiatry we are experienced in treating sports injuries and knee pain in children. Poor foot function can also directly impact the pressures and forces that go through the knee and can increase risk of injury.