Osgood Schlatter, 20 questions about and answers it.
1) What is Osgood-Schlatter?
It is an illness described in 1903 by two doctors, Dr. Robert Osgood and Dr. Carl Schlatter.
2) Hm, useful information. I mean, what kind of illness is it?
With OS, there are complaints on the connection of the knee tendon (patella tendon) to the shinbone. On the shinbone (tibia) right under the kneecap (patella) is a little bump (for those experts Tuberositas Tibia) where the problems will rise. The cause is probably a temporary imbalance between the forces of the muscle at the front of the upper leg (Quadriceps) and the quality of the tendon attachment. OS is possibly the most common cause of knee trouble with children aged 11 to 16. In a Finnish research apparently 13% of the teenagers there carried symptoms of OS.
3) What are the symptoms?
Firstly the spot is painful when pressed. Stretching the leg against resistance is also painful. In the beginning it hurts after exercises but later also during the exercise and in advance. Usually there is also a local swelling and an inflammation reaction (hot and red). The complaints are not always there but could have a capricious course. Besides doing sports, walking the stairs and squatting are also painful.
4) I have heard only boys get OS?
Boys do suffer more often from OS than girls. But because girls nowadays are more fanatic in sports and also grow taller than before their number of OS patients is increasing. Emancipation does not only have advantages. For getting OS there are several preconditions. You would have to be:
* Between the age of 10 and 16
* Be active in sports
* In a period of rapid growth
Diagnosis will have to be made by a doctor to exclude other problems (such as a Jumpers Knee)
5) Which sports are the most risky?
Frankly speaking, all sports in which running, jumping and kneeling is involved. These are sports in which the muscles at the front of the upper leg have to endure great forces on the attachment, through the kneecap. By bending the force gets even bigger.
6) How long does OS stay on?
OS is a very individual illness that is hard to predict. It will, even if you do not take any actions, heal by itself. In the end when the growing period has past. The official time is several months. If you are unlucky this could be several years. Especially if you do not drastically lower the amount of pressure it could become worse and take longer to heal.
7) What can I do about it?
The only thing you could do is drastically lower the amount of pressure (caused by sports). In any case for a period of three months. After that you will just have to see what is responsibility. Cycling to school could count in for pressure. Sprint and jump exercises in particular should be cancelled.
8) Would it be useful to use crutches to spare the knee?
No. This way the leg muscles will become weaker and other problems may rise.
9) What else could I do?
A thing that could help is doing some cooling during the day. This gives a little relief on the pain. Regular massage of the Quadriceps could help as well, because of the relaxation. Finally there is also the patella bandage, which could offer some additional support.
10) Where do I get this massage?
To get it you could make an appointment with a certified sports massage practitioner. With a little luck, he might even be willing to teach the parents some basic skills.
11) And where do I get a patella bandage?
You can buy it at any good sports dealer.
12) Where should you place this bandage?
The patella bandage should be placed right under the kneecap and over the bump. So right at the centre of the tendon. This bandage should only be worn during light exercise. So you should not keep it on all the time. It is also wrong to increase the amount of pressure while wearing it. In that case it will be an injurious buy after all.
13) Will the injury go away by all this advice?
No. It will only pass by being patient. Through decreasing of pressure you can probably prevent longer agony to happen.
14) If that's so, isn't it better to completely quit doing sports?
No. As I previously stated, the course of OS is rather capricious. Best would be to drop the most harmful activities and for the rest stay active within pain levels. Apart from that, the body consists of many more parts than your knees only. The rest can well be kept active.
15) Which alternative sports are there?
For example swimming (crawl) and fitness (but limited and under supervision because of the age). Usually cycling is reasonably well to do in a light acceleration.
16) What if it doesn't heal within time?
If after a year complaints are still serious, despite decreased pressure, one could try plastering or, in extreme cases, do a surgery to solve problems. It is to an orthopaedic specialist to decide on that.
17) Will it be guaranteed to pass then?
No, even then nothing is certain. Sometimes it is cured, sometimes it will remain the same and sometimes it will become worse.
18) I haven't heard you about physiotherapy yet?
Indeed, it has not been proved that any kind of physiotherapy on OS is useful. Only manual massage of the Quadriceps could offer some relief.
19) Is there anything else that's important?
Yes, if you have been out for a while because of OS, you should really carefully rebuild your physical condition. If you want to get back to your previous level too quickly you run the risk of getting other injuries. That would be rather crude after this forced "resting" period.
20) To put it shortly: Take it easy and be patient?
Indeed, and: listen to your body, it is your best advisor.
Osgood Schlatter, 20 questions about and answers it.