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Osgood Schlatter Disease

Does your child complain of knee pain? They just may have Osgood Schlatter Disease. Did you know this is a common cause of knee pain in young children?

While Osgood Schlatter Disease may sound like a serious condition, it is one of the few diagnoses that is often categorized as “growing pains” in children. It is a common condition in children going through growth spurts (puberty) and participating in sports. When the large quadriceps muscle in the thigh contracts, it pulls on the kneecap. The kneecap in turn pulls on top to the shin to extend the leg at a site known as the tibial tubercle.  Repetitive pulling and motion, particularly with sports, can lead to local inflammation of the tibial tubercle and pain. You’ll find that boys can experience it from 12 to 14 and girls aged 10 to 13. This condition is easily pointed out as it appears as a bony bump on the shinbone just below the knee and typically effects just one knee, but can affect both.

Activities that involve running, jumping or bending, or any movement in which the quadricep (thigh muscle) is engaged, will then pull on the tendon that connects the kneecap to the growth plate at the top of the shinbone. You may expect that your child will be in pain and swelling over the bump. If your child is experiencing these symptoms it’s important you contact your family physician or othopaedic surgeon for a proper diagnosis.

As the child matures and growing slows and stops, symptoms almost always disappear, however, the bump often remains. In the meantime, you can make an effort to reduce pain and swelling by limiting the activity your child engages in and below are some stretching exercises we recommend. (I assume that we will be including photos adjacent to the descriptions)

Quadriceps Stretching: Your child can stand doing this movement, but an easier way to perform the stretch is lying on the stomach using a towel to help facilitate the stretch.  (I would include 2 quad stretching exercises, one standind and one on the floor)

  1. Lie on stomach
  2. Bend knee up as far as possible
  3. Loop towel around ankle
  4. Grasp towel to gently pull knee up further
  5. Hold stretch for 15 seconds, release slowly and repeat for a total of 3 times

Hamstring Stretching: The hamstring run along the back of the thigh from hip to just behind knees, often tightness can occur in the knee with straightening the knee.

  1. Sit down with feet out in front
  2. Wrap towel around foot and pull foot off floor
  3. Hold stretch for 15 seconds, release slowly and repeat for a total of 3 times

Calf Stretching: A tight calf muscle can change the way the knee moves.

  1. Sit down with feet out in front
  2. Wrap towel around toes and pull toes back toward body
  3. Hold stretch for 15 seconds, release slowly and repeat for a total of 3 times

Leg Lift Strengthening: This will strengthen the quadricep.

  1. Lie down with back flat
  2. Keep effected leg straight and bend the other
  3. Pull stomach in and press small of back to floor
  4. Slowly lift left without bending knee with foot flexed
  5. Hold for 5 seconds and lower slowly and repeat for a total of 2 times

Standing Hamstring Curls Strengthening: This will strengthen the hamstring.

  1. Stand upright with knees 1-2 inches apart (you may hold a chair for balance)
  2. Slowly bend effected leg behind the body, lifting the heel while keep body aligned straight
  3. Bend to a 90 degree angle and hold for 5 seconds and lower slowly and repeat for a total of 2 times

Step Strengthening: This will strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes

  1. Use a sturdy stool or platform no taller than 6 inches
  2. Step onto stool with effected leg
  3. Hold for 5 seconds and lower slowly and repeat for a total of 2 times