How to Deal with Osgood-Schlatter Disease

There’s logic behind the term “growing pains.” The body doesn’t just ache when you’re older, and joint problems don’t only occur in senior citizens. Osgood-Schlatter Disease is most prevalent in youngsters under the age of sixteen.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a common knee problem, where inflammation of the joint eventually causes the tendon from the patella to attach to the tibia bone. It is repetitive stress disease, which makes it most common in active people, whose knees are constantly subjected to running, jumping, and bending. Athletes are treated for Osgood-Schlatter very frequently, especially in high knee stress sports like soccer and basketball. It will usually only be present in one knee, although some people will develop it in both. The combination of being in growth spurt years makes young athletes particular susceptible to developing it. Kids grow at a rapid rate before and during puberty, which puts tremendous stress on the joints in the body. Couple that with the impact of serious physical exercise, and the knees will take a beating. While the joint itself is undamaged with Osgood-Schlatter, the constant use and stress causes a great deal of swelling in that region. Luckily, Osgood-Schlatter Disease usually fades after puberty has been reached and growing slows down. However, some people may take years in order to fully recover.

Osgood-Schlatter can be quite painful- and unfortunately, the more active you are, the worse it will get if you don’t allow your knee to get some much needed rest. Because it is a repetitive stress ailment, the opposite is also true: with a little rest and relaxation, the symptoms and inflammation will become less severe. Icing the knee may also help, but the real key is to lay off of it for awhile. If you catch it early enough, you can cut back for smaller periods of time in order to alleviate pain, and still stay active. But if you continue to stay seriously active, Osgood Schlatter can cause pain that will impede your walking, and may cause hairline fractures on your tibia. The pain can get severe enough that continued participation in sports will be impossible for awhile (it is your body’s way of putting its foot down.)

It is fairly easy to diagnose. A person will notice pain in that knee, and the swelling may be visible. (In some severe cases, the leg may be so swollen that there appears to be two knee caps. One is the real patella, the other is the lump where the tendon had attached to the shinbone.) They may have to favor that leg after they exercise, and will notice that when they rest of awhile, the pain subsides drastically. Usually, rest is the best medicine. However, a pain reliever may be diagnosed in some cases, and will help reduce swelling. Stretching can sometimes help ease pain. Athletes should consider adding weightlifting and stretching to their routine, as the strength and added limberness can really help the stress put on the knees. Particularly since young athletes lack the developed muscles that are handy in many sports. Osgood-Schlatter can affect both boys and girls. In girls, the symptoms may present themselves a little earlier. Prior injuries may initiate or exacerbate Osgood-Schlatters.

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