The term ‘growing pains’ often covers a wide range of diseases and conditions that can affect children as their bodies adjust to rapid growth spurts.
Osgood Schlatter disease is a common condition that can cause discomfort and pain in the knee joint in children between the ages of 10 and 14.
Puberty is a time of great change in a young child’s body and it’s important that you take it seriously if your child complains about knee pain.
What Causes It?
Osgood Schlatter disease results in the growth of a painful bony bump on the shinbone just below the knee. It occurs as a result of rapid bone growth during puberty and is more common is highly active children.
It tends to occur in girls at a slightly younger age (10 to 13) because they usually enter puberty earlier. Osgood Schlatter disease typically occurs in boys between 12 and 14.
Sports and activities that impose a high level of pressure on the knee joint, such as running, jumping and kneeling, will often make the condition worse. Osgood Schlatter disease is generally more common in boys than girls although this may simply be that boys tend to be more active.
Osgood Schlatter disease arises where the thigh muscle (patellar tendon) attaches to the shinbone. Excessive strain in this area triggers the knee pain and swelling and explains why the pain is worse during or after exercise.
What’s The Best Treatment?
Your podiatrist will be able to diagnose if the condition is Osgood Schlatter disease and rule out other potential conditions or problems. A physical examination and patient history will usually be sufficient for correct diagnosis. X-rays are not usually necessary.
Rest, ice, compression can help relieve the symptoms and provide some pain relief. Strengthening the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh will help stabilise the area.
So your podiatrist will usually prescribe some specific strengthening exercises and stretches that will help alleviate any discomfort. Your child should be able to continue to play sport although they may need to reduce activity levels for a time until the condition settles down.
What’s the long-term prognosis? Fortunately, Osgood Schlatter disease will usually disappear as bone growth settles down. This may take one or two years. In rare cases (around 5% of children) calcium deposits from this period may persist at the top of the shinbone and cause ongoing pain.
If the pain is persistent and severe enough this calcification may require surgical removal. There are a number of conditions, such as knock-knees or other foot/ gait issues, that may contribute and exacerbate Osgood Schlatter disease.
Custom orthotics can help correct these conditions and ensure that your child’s bones grow in a healthy way. Erica Dash Podiatry, our friendly staff have the expertise and experience to help your child with Osgood Schlatter’s disease and any other foot and lower limb problems that are holding them back.
If your child is complaining of discomfort or painful movement around the knee, then pop in and see us.
What Are The Symptoms Of Osgood Schlatter Disease?
The following symptoms are typical of Osgood Schlatter disease:
- Your child complains of pain just below the knee cap (in one or both knees)
- There is a swollen lump below the knee cap (may be painful to touch)
- Symptoms are worse with activities such as running, jumping, kneeling or climbing stairs
- Pain and swelling typically disappears with rest
- You may notice your child limping as a result of the pain
If your child is undergoing a growth spurt and experiencing the above symptoms, then a visit to an experienced qualified podiatrist can help resolve the problem and provide substantial relief.
Shockwave is a great alternative to treatments such as dry needling if you’re needle phobic and not keen on dry needling. We also have effective treatment offers for kids.