Osgood-Schlatters disease is one of a group of injuries known as a traction apophysitis. This is when a tendon pulls on the growth plate of the bone, pulling a small portion of it away. In the case of this condition it is the patella tendon pulling away from the front of the shin.
Why does it happen.
There is a range of reasons this can occur. As mentioned, one factor can be a phase of increased growth. When the body grows not all tissue grows at the same rate, meaning the muscles and tendons can take a little while to catch up to the growth of bones.
Another factor is muscle and tendon loading, this generally means sport. There will be a direct relationship between the amount of sport performed week to week and the likelihood and amount of pain this issue can cause.
What happens if I have Osgood-schlatters?
Osgood-schlatters comes on usually in early to mid-teen years and hangs around for a 6-18 months before disappearing when growth slows down again. At times pain will be worse than others when sports load or growth is at its most. The main goal through those episodes is to manage how much sport is performed so the athlete can get out and do the most important things like weekend games.
What can be done about it?
The main goal of treatment is to give strength to the areas surrounding the knee, and to take load away from the patella tendon itself. Taking load away may include reducing the amount of sport, taping / braces or looking at movement mechanics to make sure force is being dispersed evenly across the knee.
Can it be cured?
Generally, the symptoms resolve after 6-18 months when bones begin to fuse and growth slows. In the mean-time it can be managed so it doesn’t get so bad you have to stop playing sport all together. Most of the time pain will limit any serious progression, in rare cases the bone can pull away completely.