Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition which causes pain on the knee. It commonly occurs among young people between the ages of 9-16. It manifests itself through a painful lump just below the knee. This is due to the inflammation of the patellar ligament at the tibial tuberosity. The pain is usually felt during physical activity such as running, jumping, squatting, and going up and down the stairs.
Around 75% of cases affect boys and occurs in up to 20% of sporty children compared to 4% of a group of all activity levels. In a quarter of cases, both knees are affected and it is more likely to happen around the age of rapid growth. Since the condition is due to the irritation and damage of the growth plate, Osgood-Schlatter disease can sprout only while the growth plate is present, usually up to 16 years of age.
Mechanical factors play a big role in Osgood–Schlatter’s disease. When the feet are in ‘perfect’ alignment, the quadriceps muscles, patella tendon, patella and tibial tuberosity are all in a line. Any force created by using the thigh muscles transmits to the tuberosity in a direct front-on direction. A pronated foot will increase the quadriceps angle in the same way that a knock kneed position would. The change in the angle of pull can leave the trochanter more vulnerable from an angled pulling force.
Ignoring symptoms or adopting a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude is likely to cause further damage and prolonged recovery in patients with Osgood Schlatter’s disease. Immediate and appropriate treatment of patients with this condition is essential to ensure a speedy recovery.
Some factors which may contribute to the development of Osgood Schlatter’s disease include:
- A sudden increase in training or sporting activity
- Inappropriate training
- Recent growth spurts
- Inappropriate footwear
- Muscle tightness or weakness (particularly the quadriceps)
- Joint stiffness
- Poor lower limb biomechanics
- Poor foot posture