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Osgood schlatters disease is a common knee injury to the top of the shinbone which is caused by overuse.
It more commonly affects males and is particularly prevalent amongst young sportspeople between the ages of nine and 14. It can cause severe knee pain and often means having to take a break from sporting activities, although wearing a good knee support can help.
The condition is a type of Traction Apophysitis and affects the Tibial Tuberosity - the lump felt just under the kneecap. This lumpy part is an Apophyisis, or a part of bone where tendons and muscles attach. The thigh muscles, quadriceps, are attached to this area.
Knee pain is the main symptom of the condition, both during activity and when the tibial tuberosity is touched.
The symptoms of osgoods can continue for more than a year. Taking a break from sporting activities is needed, although the condition may not be totally resolved until the area of bone is fully mature when a person reaches around 16-years-old. Even when osgoods appears to be under control, it can be a good idea to get professional advice before returning to sport. It is also advisable to wear a knee support to prevent further problems.
The only treatment recommended by all practitioners is total rest until the knee pain has gone. Ice packs can help to ease symptoms, as can wearing a knee support. This should then be worn afterwards to reduce stress on the area. A knee strap, for example, will reduce the force on the Tibial tuberosity from the patella tendon.
Osgoods can be very difficult to treat so it is important to do everything possible to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Adolescents should do stretching exercises as growth can cause the leg muscles to become tight. Young people should also ensure they don’t train too hard. There should be a break of at least one or two days between each session to allow the body to recover. Each training session should be no longer than 90 minutes and should vary in intensity.
Young people should not do weight or resistance training as this puts too much pressure on bones and they should also avoid repetitive hopping and other jumping or plyometric exercises. Talented youngsters should also beware of being called on to take part in too many activities. Gifted footballers, for example, may be asked to play for their school, their district, and their county. The frequency of training and matches should be limited and a knee support should be worn if there are periods of unusual activity to prevent the knee pain and swelling associated with osgoods.