Osgood Shlatters exercises

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

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Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by repetitive stress or tension on the growth area of the upper tibia (the apophysis).

It is characterized by inflammation of the patellar tendon at the point where the tendon attaches to the tibia. The disease may also be associated with an avulsion injury, in which the tendon is stretched so much that it tears away a small piece of bone from the tibia. The disease most commonly affects active young people, particularly boys between the ages of 10 and 15, who play games or sports that include frequent running and jumping.

People with this disease have pain just below the knee joint that worsens with activity and is relieved by rest. A bony bump that is particularly painful when pressed or bumped may appear on the upper edge of the tibia (below the knee cap).

Motion of the knee is not adversely affected. Pain may last a few months and may recur until a child's growth is completed.

Osgood Schlatter disease is most often diagnosed by the symptoms. An x ray may show an avulsion injury, or fragmentation of the apophysis. MRI or ultrasound may provide a more definitive evaluation of the area.

Usually, the disease improves without treatment. Applying ice to the knee when pain first begins helps relieve inflammation and is sometimes used along with stretching and strengthening exercises. Limited participation in vigorous sports may be advised. Children who wish to continue participating in moderate or less stressful sports may need to wear knee pads for protection and apply ice to the knee after activity.

Attention to proper form and gentle stretches are advisable. Strengthening of all muscle groups to avoid imbalance is wise.

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