Osgood-Schlatter disease affects adolescents experiencing growth spurts during puberty. This condition develops when the thigh muscles, known as quadriceps, pull on the tendon that attaches the knee cap to the tibia or shinbone. The persistent pulling eventually causes the tendon to detach from the shinbone causing pain and swelling.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that teenagers who play soccer and basketball are more likely to develop this disease. Other sporting activities that increase an adolescent’s risk for developing this condition include gymnastics, distance running, figure skating, ballet and other games that involve running, jumping and changing directions suddenly.
Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease, according to John Hopkin’s Orthopedic Surgery, include a painful swelling which develops below the knee joint on the tibia. Some patients experience the pain only when running and jumping, while others suffer from a constant, debilitating ache. Though this condition usually affects one knee in most patients, it sometimes affects both knees.
According to Mayo Clinic, Osgood-Schlatter disease usually resolves without treatment once the child’s bones stop growing. This usually occurs at around the age of 16 years for boys and 14 for girls. Resting the knee by avoiding activities that trigger the pain is one way of managing it. Applying ice to the knee also helps reduce the pain and swelling. Knee pads and patellar tendon straps can also be worn to protect the affected knee during sporting activities.
Pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are also used to relieve the pain of Osgood-Schlatter disease. The doctor can also recommend physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch the quadricep muscles and thus reduce the stress on the spot where their tendon attaches to the shinbone.
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