My Osgood-Schlatters disease story

Osgood-Schlatters disease


This post is quite important for me as this short story is the reason why I became a Chiropractor in the first place. At the age of 14 in the midst of a promising young football career, I developed a disease called Osgood Schlatters in both legs. This disease is due to the repetitive pull of the quadriceps on the knee cap and therefore the patellar tendon that attached to the lower leg. This repetitive pull along with the softer adolescent bone leads to very subtle avulsion of the bone (pulling away) by the ligament itself. This condition does not last for ever, though it can last months, years and, rarely, it can recur. At the time of onset it stopped me from playing Football (Soccer) for 6 months. I was playing football 6 days a week for 3 different teams, so in retrospect it was not surprising that my body failed eventually.

What Happened?

Initially I was diagnosed as having Osgood Schlatters in my right leg which lasted around 3 months, however on returning to playing football again I had it in my left leg and was out for another 3 months. At the time I was playing for the youth academy of my local professional Football team Bristol Rovers and also had hopes to go professional as I was progressing well. When the team’s head Physiotherapist assessed me I was told that I had Osgood Schlatters, told I had tight Hamstrings, to stop playing football for 3 months and was recommended a specialised strap for my knee as well as being told I had an ‘abnormal gait’. Now a gait is basically the style in which we walk, and everyone has one, however my parents were not academics and I was told that I had a ‘gait leg’, amusingly this led me to believe that I walked as if I was hurdling a gait on one side… as you can imagine for a 14 year old this was very confusing indeed.

I am now 25 years old and have decided to write this post to help younger aspiring athletes to find a solution to their problem. I am now a Chiropractor, with extra qualifications and experience in treating sports injuries and can now treat this condition effectively.

What is it like to have?

Imagine running, and every time your foot hits the floor it feeling like someone has hit a bruise that you have at the top of your shin lightly with their knuckles. This would occur over and over again as you run, then kicking a ball would feel like someone has hit you a bit harder. Its not a sharp pain, just a very intense dull ache that following each session of running can last for 30 minutes or so after. It is draining as you cannot perform at your max and it makes you feel weak.

Why does it occur?

Osgood Schlatters basically occurs due to a combination of 1) Playing too much sport, 2) The type of sport that is played, 3) The compensations the body makes and 4) Nutritional intake. Now I do not have any studies or written evidence to back up what I am about to tell you, all I have is my knowledge from books and blogs I follow and my experience.

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Not all causes of Osgood Schlatters will be the same, the only true way to get the cause examined is an in depth assessment by a sports specific manual therapist that is recommended and has experience in treating athletes. You have to find the initial cause of the problem, the obvious cause is the Quadriceps pulling too tightly on the point of insertion at the tibial tuberosity (the point that enlarges). So a simple recommendation is to stretch all four of the Quadriceps, this can be achieved in lots of ways, just look at youtube! I would recommend using a foam roller on the quads as well as the stretching routines you can find generally. Once the heels can reach the buttocks on both sides you can start working on strengthening the Quads to make sure minor strains and the build up of tightness does not reoccur.

How can you stop it coming back?

Now the bit that will stop it coming back again is by having a full bio-mechanical check over of the muscles of the pelvic region (this means checking muscle tightness, compensatory muscle imbalances and correcting muscles that are not firing correctly). This is hard to do at home and a specialist (a good Chiropractor, Osteo or Physio) can tell you which areas to work on to improve this area.

Now, here are my recommendations:
i) Stop all sporting activity other than swimming (non-weight bearing and maintains fitness)
ii) Use an ice pack on the region 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a day initially and after each time it feels sore. Consider taking ibuprofen tablets and applying ibuprofen gel to the region daily also.
ii) Foam roller on the quads and after a week of this begin using general Quad stretches, make sure your pelvis does not tilt forwards with these stretches as this is cheating and decreases the benefit of the stretch)
iv) Once you heel can reach your buttock on each side, progress on to gentle wall squats increasing the angle of squat each time till you reach 90 degrees without pain.
v) At this point try gentle jogging on soft grass progressing in intensity over a week, then try on concrete for a week, then make the intensity more sport specific by changing direction as you run. All the time you are returning to sport make sure you are stretching and icing the knee region. If pain is felt again at the knee, stop immediately, Ice the region and take 2 steps back then build back up again. Pushing through the pain will not gain you anything but more pain with this problem.
vi) Have a specialist check over to see if there is anything else you can do at home to improve function of the pelvis.
vii) Increase Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Calcium intake as this ensures good bone density and will aid in the healing of the region of bony avulsion.
viii) Read my post called What should I be eating?, you do not have to change everything in your diet, though I would highly recommend trying some of it as decreasing your level of Pro-inflammatory fatty acids and increasing your anti-inflammatory fatty acids will increase your general healing rate as an athlete exponentially. Remember, ‘you are what you eat’ and the general UK diet is high in grains which is not normal for the human body, crops are only a very recent development!

ix) E-mail me, I am always happy to help others with Osgood Schlatters, teams or individuals, it is a very common problem which affected me personally by ruining my Football career. No team wants a Footballer that can’t play for months on end and I hate hearing of others, and their potential careers, suffering unnecessarily.

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32 thoughts on “My Osgood-Schlatters disease story

  1. Hi, I have had OSD since I was 11 and im now 16, all my life I have played through the pain, i lost alot of pace cause of it so had to change my game, last year I got picked up by Macclesfield town and have been given a scholarship for next year as this is my final year in school. I have done well to get to in to an academy considering I suffer. I want know if there is anyway I can get this to go away as football is my life and my dream as I try to Pl lay it everyday and I dont want OSD to ruin mydream also I am becoming really annoyed with it as I have been injured for 2 weeks with it and want to know, what is the best things for me to do, thanks

    1. Hey Joe,

      The usual course of treatment does involve a rest period from Football which I am sure you have already been told. However this alone is not enough. You need to regularly foam roller your quad muscles on the front of your legs and then check for any other tight muscles through out the lower limb.

      As far as strengthening goes, work on your hamstrings as these will be weak if you play football a lot, so they require strengthening. Nordic declines are a great way to lengthen and strengthen the hamstrings.

      Use a tennis ball at your hips and side of your rear to loosen out any tightness in this region. Knees suffer if hips are not doing their job.

      Lastly, seeing a sports specialist to look at your pelvis, hips and feet will help identify any issues as I cannot see your injury it is worth getting a pair of eyes to see where the OSD may be getting aggravated and to identify other important regions that are weak and need strengthening.

      A period of rest from Football will be required unfortunately Joe while you are doing your rehab, though you can do this through the summer once the season has ended.

      Hope that helps,
      Danny

      1. Hi danny, it was very useful and I amgoing to take up the stretches, I found this very useful
        thanks

  2. Hi,

    I do not have a professional career as I am only 15, but I play basketball for a local club in the southern regional league and have had osgood schlatter disease for around a year now, I have been given exercises to do but nothing seems to be getting better and my lump seems to be getting bigger. Is there anything more I can do to help it? I have rested for many games in the last season but have also been playing at lunch times continuously which is a fairly low intensity. Should I refrain from all sports at school and at lunch or should I continue with them? I’m getting fairly worried now because It is frustrating not being able to train properly and often just watching my team play games, even more so when they lose and I know I could have helped. Is there anything that helped you mentally get through the disease? Also will this lump stay forever and will it have any physical effects if I have hopes of a professional career? I would like to know whether I can pursue a career in sports or whether I can purely focus on becoming a physiotherapist.

    Many Thanks,
    Elliot.

    1. Hey Elliot,

      I would recommend stopping high knee impact sports (Basketball, Football, Rugby etc) completely for at least 3 months (Swimming is fine and recommended), this is because the injury is essentially a fracture of the bone that has come about by too much activity at a young age. Your bones are more supple and have not ‘fused’ completely when you are younger. I know it is tempting lay high impact sports at lunch time etc but to return to sport quicker you need to stop.

      The lump will stay forever, it may decrease in size once the swelling has decreased (use an ice pack to help with this) though as the body heals it will lay down new bone which leaves you with the bumps, I have them myself and don’t get any problems (rarely some people do). It is a very common problem which lots of people recover from, you just have to treat it correctly and it will go away.

      It is hard mentally to stop sport, this is where doing an alternative sport for a while will help, swimming was great for me as you get a cardio workout and your knees don’t suffer at all. Ice the knees 1-2 times a day, foam roller your quad muscles and it is worth getting your pelvis, hips, knees and feet checked over by a Chiropractor or Osteopath to see what else could be causing you quads to be over working.

      Try to return to the sport after 3 months though you must stop if it still hurts as you will only prolong your recovery by pushing it, once it heals it should be fine and you will be able to play sport no problem. When returning to sport, wear a osgood schlatters support as this will help you transition back into play by providing a little extra support. If it helps, feel free to message me a month or two into your rest period to let me know what you have done and how you feel. Injuries like these are hard but they do go away, you just have to treat them correctly.

      Hope that helps,
      Danny

  3. I am a 12 years old boy and couldn’t play football my favorite sport because of the disease Osgood schlatters.But even then I don’t want to stop sporting activities and I will never stop playing football.So what can I do for getting rid from this disease without leaving sporting activities?

    1. Hey Anasaheed,

      Apologies for the late reply, You will not have to stop playing Football, Osgood Schlatters will go away eventually, you do, however, need to take a break from sports which are high impact and concentrate on lower impact sports in the meantime such as swimming. Having a manual therapist look at how your body is moving and provide exercises is also something that can speed up the healing process.

      Danny

  4. Hi i was playing football from about 12-16 ive had osgood schlatters in my left knee since about the time i started playing football when i was younger i asked my doctor and he told me i didnt have to take a break because it wasnt that bad but it continually got worse and turned into a larger lump on my knee which caused me to stop playing at age 16 it causes me pain daily and prevents me from performing my best doctors said it would subside when i was an adult but now im 18 and its worse then ever im hoping to play college ball in september ive heard youve gotta be fully grown to get surgery on it and im hoping not to miss out on any more seasons its really heavily impacted me and id like to know all i can before entering surgery

    1. Hey Shannon,

      Apologies for the late reply, It sounds like your knee hasn’t had the rest it needs to heal up. This injury is what is know as an ‘Avulsion fracture’ this means where the ligament in your knee attaches it is literally pulling away the bone. Each time this occurs the body will try to heal it, this leads to the bump you can see as new bone gets put down. OSD is know to last up to 2 years, this time frame is considered even when not playing high impact sports. Swimming is a great option to maintain cardiovascular fitness in the meantime. OSD put a halt on my playing career and affected my fitness but it doesn’t mean it is not possible to recover, the best way forwards is to get your body assessed for asymmetries in muscles strength, length and any joint mobility issues in the lower limbs. A good sports manual therapist such as a sports physio or sports chiropractor can do this for you.

      Hope that helps?
      Danny

  5. Hi Danny my 15 year old son is a Goalkeeper who has been training with Luton FC for two years, He has recently grown to be 6′ 2″ tall with the ideal physic and talent for the role but like you hit the OS wall at the end of last year complete with clicking painful knees, mis-aligned knee caps and extra bone growth beneath both knee joints!
    He has been out of all sports now (except upper body exercises) for 3 months and under instruction from the club physio ,who like you recommended icing, foam roller and other specific exercises including swimming!
    Both he and the club are keen for him to restart fitness training but neither my son or myself as a responsible adult are qualified to assess his readiness as he is still growing.
    As parents we are also concerned what impact these short term decisions have upon his longer term lifestyle?
    What approach would you recommend at this time as he has made slow and steady progress to-date?
    Should he stop completely until he has no pain, clicking etc
    Should he just go gently and basically suck it and see?

    Unfortunately for my son the clock is ticking!

    I would appreciate your second opinion as it would appear you have personally been through the experience?

    Many thanks in advance

    Peter

    1. Hi Peter,

      Sounds like a tricky situation. What you have done so far has been great, getting it checked over by the Physio and exercises put in place. However If your son has been diagnosed with OSD part of the recovery which is crucial is the halting of any ‘high impact exercises’. This is because the bumps which form are due to the bone being pulled away from the surface of the tibia, as the body tries to heal it lays down more bone, this (plus the swelling) is what causes the bumps you see. When the swelling goes down the bumps will remain (though smaller).

      To maintain cardiovascular fitness through this period, swimming is great. Low impact reflex exercises could be implemented in the mean time also but unfortunately a break of 3 months up to 2 years is required. Also focus on loosening the lower limb muscles with foam roller and/or tennis ball (esp. Hamstrings, quads, soleus, gastrocnemius, toe flexors, glut max, glut med, Tensor fascia latae) and strengthening the hips (esp glut med). The people that take longer to recover are usually the ones that continue to try and play with the injury. This just aggravates the problem and can lead to the problem persisting in later life.

      I would say listen to his body, test it gently after a month, if it is sore, then leave it immediately, do not try and push through the pain. Its like trying to play with a fractured leg, there is an avulsion fracture there. I had the same problem with the ‘ticking clock’ though if you go back to soon, you can cause worse problems, get it right now an be patient. Try to maintain fitness and gradually return to sport, nice and slow. Be patient, hopefully the club will be to, if they are not… then do not lose heart, regain fitness correctly and go again. Open day trials etc are a great way of getting back in once fitness is regained.

      Hope that helps,
      Danny

  6. Hi Danny

    Slightly different situation here but I’d like to ask your advice.

    I’m 19 years old, was playing semi pro football last year for a local side in Nottingham. I sustained bad ligament damage in my left ankle in May last year in the penultimate game of the season. Fortunately I had the off season to recover so I wasn’t too worried about this.

    After resting my ankle for 2 weeks I started walking again at work, I had a slight limp but I assumed it would improve over time.

    After walking at work for a few months I then attempted a return to football. (This was September time)

    I felt very stiff and my left leg was weak, but I could play fairly comfortably. I assumed the leg would simply return to normal over time.

    In October of last year, during a game I went into a tackle and my left leg jolted a bit. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because it didn’t hurt, I kept on playing. I didn’t notice anything until the week after when I went training. I tried to turn around a cone during the warm up and felt a sharp pain in my tibial tuberosity. I believe this injury was linked to the previous ankle injury, likely due to the weakness in the left leg from underuse.

    Stupidly I tried to play through the pain as I thought it was just soreness, little did I know how bad it really was!

    Turned out to be Osgood Schlatter disease. I decided to rest it over Christmas and attempted to return to football training after Christmas. During an exercise the pain was excruciating and I had to stop immediately. So frustrating as I believed the rest had solved my problem.

    I now know a lot more. I’ve researched Osgood Schlatter disease and I have all the symptoms, however, I’m not a growing teenager and I never had knee problems in my early teens, this was something that was triggered by an injury.

    I’ve seen a physio and had a rest period through January and February 2015. Following the physio’s advice I have attempted strengthening exercises such as quad curls, hamstring curls, glute exercises etc. but I still get pain with a lot of these.

    I can now do forefeet running pain free on a treadmill, but still any squats, jumps or high impact causes me pain in the tibial tuberosity.

    My symptoms don’t seem to add up. I can run on forefeet without pain but I cannot climb stairs properly, I’m confused!

    Any advice you can give me?

    Thanks.

    1. Hey Luke,

      Thanks for your question, the first thing I would have to ask is what scans have you had on the region to confirm it is Osgood Schlatter’s disease?

      The best way to know exactly what is going on is to have an MRI, privately you can get these for around £229, though you have to be referred by a healthcare professional (Chiro, Physio etc). Getting one on the NHS is likely to be a long wait and may not lead to getting one, so this is where I would start.

      The reason I say this is that it actually sounds more like you have a Patellar Tendinopathy? (whether or not this is left over as a result of previous Osgood Schlatter’s or is happening at the same time I can’t say without seeing it)

      The solution to Patellar tendinopathy is to perform a very strict regime of Eccentric squats on a 25 degrees declined board (you can use a plank of wood on a step or build a wedge if you are good at carpentry). Research suggests performing 30 reps, whereby you get soreness toward the last 5-10 reps. Perform this once a day over a course of 12 weeks (long time I know). You progress the exercise once your knees stop getting sore during the last 5-10 reps, you do this by adding some weight in to a back pack. This should make the soreness return toward the last 5-10 reps. Once the soreness goes again, you increase the weight and so on for 12 weeks. It is good to have a healthcare professional to assist and guide you through the whole process.

      What is happening is that you are ‘lengthening and strengthening’ the patellar tendon by creating scar tissue. Alongside this regime you’ll need to be performing lots of various leg stretches, static ones are fine and you can also use a foam roller to work out the knots, especially at the quadriceps.

      However I would start by getting a bang on diagnosis by getting an MRI, it is expensive though it will answer all your questions. That is what I would do as the injury is now starting to drag on a while.

      The cheaper option (though less chance of a positive diagnosis) is to see the GP with a letter from your Physio asking for an X-ray of knee (easier to get with NHS), this would show the extent of the Osgood Schlatters if it is present but it would not show how much the patellar ligament is involved. You would then have the tricky situation of getting an MRI on the NHS.

      Hope that helps,
      Danny

      1. Hi Danny, thanks for your quick response.

        I’ve had an MRI scan (January time), and it shows that I have a ‘healthy knee’. I discussed the scan with a sports physician and he confirmed this. However, I am really struggling to make any progress with it due to pain.

        I have the characteristic lump on my tibial tuberosity and pain in this area so I believe it is Osgood Schlatter disease. I am now having physio to rehabilitate my knee, but I am struggling to perform any of the exercises given due to pain and weakness.

        Would you recommed an X-Ray to confirm there isn’t anything more serious going on?

        I am concerned as the new football season is coming up and after this frustrating year I’d like to get it sorted once and for all!

        Cheers.

      2. Hey Luke,

        It does sound odd for them to have performed an MRI and not given any diagnosis at all?

        The only thing I can think of is if they scanned the knee joint itself and not scanned the tibial tuberosity and patellar tendon.

        You are right to be thining it is Osgood Schlatter’s with getting the bumps at the knees etc. An X-ray would show this up, though you need to make sure you read the whole report that is given with the xray and not just the conclusion as the detail is in the lead up to the conclusion. If it does come up on X-ray then I am very surprised it did not get reported on in the MRI?

        I personally would see what comes of the X-ray if it was my knee (though bare in mind I have not seen the injury).

        Let me know how you get on.

        Speak soon,
        Danny

  7. Ok thanks for your advice.

    I’m going to revisit my sports physician and ask for a more in depth explanation of the MRI scan. As far as he was concerned there were no issues and I was referred to the physio for rehab.

    I understand that you need to trust the professionals but I don’t seem to be making any progress with the rehab so I wonder if they’ve missed something.

    Anyhow, thanks a lot.

    Luke

    1. Hi Danny

      I have revisited my consultant and he has refered me to have a biomechanical assessment.

      He believes that my pain is being caused by an inbalance in strength/flexibility from my previous injury. It might be important to mention that I feel significantly more pain on the left side of the tibial tuberosity. He conducted an ultrasound scan and noticed that there seems to be a slight strctural difference on the left side when compared to the other side. He suspects this could be a result of abnormally high stresses on this part of the bone.

      I have a biomechanical assessment today and I will let you know how it goes.

      Thanks.

      Luke.

      1. Hey Luke,

        Well done on chasing up your consultant, good to hear they did a diagnostic ultrasound, they are getting really advanced now. Some of them are as good as taking an MRI!

        The biomechanical assessment should be interesting. It is also worth comparing how tight you feel from one leg to another when you are performing stretches or foam rolling. You may find that one leg feels different to the other in a certain place. Look for any imbalances yourself and tell the person looking at your biomechanics. It will help them a lot.

        Hope it goes well, look forward to hearing what they find.

        Kind regards,
        Danny

  8. Hi Danny

    Thanks for your response.

    The bio mech assessment found that I have some issues around the ankle with stability and joint flexibility that is affecting my knee. They have ordered me some custom in soles and reccomeded exercises and a cream to apply.

    Should have the problem solved in 6-8 weeks if all goes well.

    Thanks for your advice and I’ll update you.

    Luke.

  9. Hi Danny

    Just a quick update. I now have my custom insoles and have been wearing them for about a week. They were slightly uncomforatable to begin with but now feel normal. They seem to have initially agrravated my knee on the TT but now the pain has started to ease which is great! I still have some work to do on the quads and surrounding muscles though as they are still tight and underdeveloed in some areas.

    Have you got any advice on how to effctively stretch my quads without casuing pain in the tibial tuberosity when pulling? Also I seem to be struggling to stretch the lateral side of the quads which is the tightest area, are there any ways around this?

    Thanks.

    1. Hey Luke,

      Good to hear that you are having some improvement.

      One of your quads (Rectus Femoris) also crosses at the hip joint (therefore crosses 2 joints including the knee), so you can help stretch this muscle by doing hip flexor stretches (check youtube). I would recommend doing these in a standing position if possible so as to not put weight on to your TT.

      Foam rolling is also useful, hold the sore spots for up to one minute using your breathing to help you relax during exhilation. This works well at the outer quad near the ITB also as the oblique portion of Vastus Lateralis arises from the ITB. If it is not hitting the spot then try using a soft tennis ball or a rolled up sock to help isolate the tightness and then focus on relaxing it whilst deep breathing. Relax on the exhilation hold each for up to a minute and continue as long as required to hit each spot.

      Let me know ho you get on and how you progress,
      Danny

  10. Hi Danny

    Problem solved. I’ve gradually moved back into sport whilst wearing the custom insoles and doing daily quad stretches and the pain in my knee has gone away. I have developed some soreness in the ankle though, I assume from the change of foot position, but it is defintely manageable.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Luke.

    1. Hey Luke,

      Thanks for your message and keeping me updated. That is Fantastic news, you have done really well, it is a slow process but you got there.

      At this stage it is best to now focus on achieving an even greater level of function to really make sure you avoid any further chronic injuries. Using your tennis ball/foam roller etc, it is good to check how your muscles are feeling from time to time. If you are interested in top notch functional exercises, check out Eric Cressey or Andreo Spina on youtube, they are awesome.

      Take care,
      Danny

  11. Hi Danny,

    What do you recommend to a 30-year old who had Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, but who still experiences pain to this day? What I have read is basically the disease is a product of sports or growth spurt. Therefore, the pain should recede after resting from sports (3 months or so), or after the growth spurt is finished (after 18 years old basically). In my case, I am 30, and still experience pain. So, I am curious to know if the disease (the pain) can actually be “cured”, or it will stay like that forever.

    It seems to me that the so called Osgood-Schlatter’s disease basically creates a bump in your tibia. So, save for surgery, reshaping the bone structure of the tibia and the tendons around it, you are stuck with this deformity forever, which incidentally causes pain.

    By the way, I don’t experience pain at all times; it only appears when I jog for extended periods of time, 20 minutes or more, or when I hit myself in the tuberosity (below the knee). After many years of having this condition, I finally went to the doctor, and he didn’t really tell me anything useful, basically “try swimming instead of running”. Well, duh, thanks. Now, how do I stop having pain when I use my knee? That’s the question. Do you have an actual cure, or am I stuck with this?

    In this sense, I feel the pain doesn’t disappear completely; it is there, and I have to live with it. I am not an athlete, I have an office job but I am not lazy and I keep myself in good shape through proper diet and regular exercise. What the doctors recommend is doing even more exercise to strengthen the thigh muscles. Why would I need that? I just need my muscles for general walking and mild jogging. I am not expecting to become a professional footballer.

    1. Hello there,

      I haven’t ever had to make recommendations for anyone that is 30 and suffering with OSD, the oldest person that I have helped was my brother who was 22 at the time. Though the process should be the same and is it really is OSD, then it is treatable as it is a ‘self-remitting’ injury which when looked after correctly should cease. As you have said, part of the issue and the most important part of getting over OSD is rest. However, if you have had it for longer than usual and it is not following the usual course of recovery (even with months of rest) then I would make sure that the diagnosis is correct. A sports Physio, Osteo or Chiro can help with this, though an X-ray will show you what is going on, an MRI is not necessary as such but if money is not a problem then one of these will give you great detail as to what is going on in the tendon as well as at the insertion point. NHS generally dont tend to show much interest unless it is really limiting your ability to perform every day tasks. As you may have read in other comments on here, loosening your quads out is also an important part of helping OSD. Foam roller and stretches are great for this. However the tightness can return in the quads if your pelvis is not sitting in a ‘neutral position’. A person’s pelvis can be tilted anteriorly or posteriorly and can sometimes have a slight twist, lots of variables areinvolved as to how the pelvis is lined up. The key to solving this issue is visiting a sports specialised Physio, Osteo or Chiro, they should be able to determine where the tilt in the pelvis is coming from. They should also check how your feet and ankles are lining up as they can also have an influence on your knee’s position.

      I would start by seeing a sports specialised manual therapist, check they have the correct qualifications to support their claim to be sports specialised as not all are. In the mean time however, I would start with some quad stretches and foam rolling of the quads. You may get a bit of soreness at the OSD but this is likely due to the stretch you are starting to induce. Resting from all activities (other that swimming) is also a necessity, there is no compromise in this as it is the main aggravating factor. Your therapist will be able to help you with getting an X-ray if you would like to see the area (and if they deem it necessary).

      Let me know how you get on and feel free to ask more questions throughout the process, kind regards,
      Danny

      1. Hi,

        Thank you for the reply.

        I did in fact take X-ray and MRI (I think I fell asleep for ten minutes inside the machine), ordered by the hip and knee specialist. My insurance covered everything, yey. The doc prescribed me occupational therapy so I went for three sessions or so, and after that I was discharged. Of course, I was in good shape, not like the other patients that were actually recovering from fractures and similar. The exercises were somewhat tough like lunges with weights, raising my extended legs or hip from a lying position, abdominal crunches, and balancing on top of a board (like a skateboard with only one set of wheels in the middle). I’ve never got a gym membership in my life so during these sessions I felt I had a free personal trainer! I even asked the lady how to get bigger arms and she gave me some tips. This was cool and all, but I felt it was unrelated to my knee problem. Should I just do a million squats, strengthen my quadriceps as much as possible, and this will go away?

        The doctor checked the MRI, and said, “yeah, so if running gives you pain, then you should probably… not run. What about swimming, why don’t you try that?” Yeah, doc, I know. I want to know how to fix my problem, not what alternative sport I should do. But, I guess it’s true what you say, this condition does not limit my daily activities, so maybe the docs didn’t give it importance. I have lived with this since my adolescence and at this point I am convinced that I will never be able to run a marathon at a fast pace, as the pain would start after 30 minutes or 10 km or so. I actually decided to check my knee because of that. One friend was talking about an upcoming marathon, and I thought “I could do that too. I better check my knee because it’s been bothering for ages. Maybe I can finally fix it now that I have disposable income and insurance”.

        Some other information I have read says that surgery is actually an option, especially for those above 21 years old when bones have stopped growing. However, I’ve read cases of people wanting to get surgery but getting it only after years of waiting. For example, if a man is 21, he may have to wait until he is 28 to get his knee fixed. After the surgery, and a 3 month recovery period, the knee feels as good as his other non-OSDed knee. I’m an engineer. If something can be fixed, it’s just a matter of weighing the costs and the benefits. I’m not afraid of the knife; tinkering, taking things apart and putting them back together in an improved fashion sounds like a good deal. Why would the doctors let you wait?

        Other comments. The doc gave me a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory, transparent gel. It ran out after a month, it didn’t do much. Using the elliptical machine is better than running in a treadmill because of lesser impact on the knees. Keeping pressure using a knee sleeve reduces the discomfort but I feel it doesn’t really address the underlying problem.

      2. Hello again,

        I understand where you are coming from regarding the engineering side of things though the body is best not tinkered with too much. If tissues are cut through then scar tissue will form. Scar tissue is not as strong as normal tissue and is more likely to lead to re-injury where the scar tissue has formed. Surgery is not bad, but it is like making a gamble, the outcome may be succesful but there is usually a chance of relapse in the future still. That is why I would always prefer to taking a more conservative route to solve the issue.

        It may cost a bit to get good private conservative treatment but it is worth it if you can avoid surgery, problems with the knees usually develop as a result of something above or below the knee. The knee is the ‘punching bag’, by having surgery at the point of insertion is not solving the more global issue that has led to it in the first place, say a tight muscle/s or a restricted joint.

        The reason doctors let you wait (on the NHS atleast) is because OSD is not a problem which affects your ‘Activities of daily life’ ADLs, these are the essential activities you need to live a comfortable life. You therefore slip down the pecking order, OSD is also known to be a ‘self remitting problem’ (it goes away with time) and if it doesnt then physiotherapy or Chiro or Osteo should be able to solve the problem by finding out what is causing it to keep being aggravated. So doctors dont usually send away for surgery as it is not a common option, this is why it may take a long time. They are paying Physios on the NHS to help with issues such as these so cost-effectively they should use them first before going surgical as the money for the surgery is better used else where for those who have ADL limiting problems.

        OSD needs rest and stretches around the leg which is involved, then strengthening once it has all been loosened out. A good sports Physio, Chiro or Osteo can help with this. I have put some reccomendations at the bottom of the above post. Have you tried the bits above at all? I am hapy to help with any stretching related questions at all?

        Danny

  12. Hi Danny,
    I have a girl who is 13 years old and grew 6′ last 18 motnhs. Her knee started to hurt about a year ago. She took off 4 weeks in the summer. But on her very 1st practice it started to hurt again. We had MRI done and was diagnosed with “growing pains”. I assume it’s OSD based on the location. We are just finishing our very intense season with Nationals still ahead. But plan to take off after that. Currently going to PT for strength/flexibility. I am frustrated that the knee specialist MD did not recommend PT, rest etc when we 1st came to him 10 months ago. We were told to take Advil and can continue to play. Currently she only feels the pain mostly during jumping. Looking online this should get better once she is done growing, correct? Also even now if she takes rest, it could comeback again in few months.

    1. Hey there Julie,

      Apologies for the delay in responding.

      Thank you for your question. You are right, Osgood Schlatters does go away in its own time (usually), it can last a lot longer though if it is continually aggravated. A normal rest period is 3-6 months, so to return to sport after 4 weeks was bit too quick.

      Seeing a PT is a great idea though I cannot stress enough how important it is to lay off from running and other high impact activities as a part of avoiding aggravating the injured area. It simply will not improved if it is being pounded repeatedly by running, I had 3-6 months off on each leg.

      You may have found with research the Osgood Schlatters is most common in boys between the age of 11-14 so this may be why your doctor missed it the first time around, possibly?

      Continue as you are, making sure that all sports are stopped for 3-6 months (annoying I know, but neccessary) the bone will then be able to heal and along with the stretches and exercises the PT has given then everything should work out. I used to push on the bump to see if it was still sore, this was my test to see if i was ok to try testing it out aga, though as soon as I felt any pain at all I would stop and take another few weeks rest.

      As you can see by my post it is a really annoying injury though there are lots of people that go through it and it normally goes away. If it does carry on it is usually because sports have been carried on and not enough rest has been allowed for the avulsion fracture to recover.

      Let me know how you get on or if you have any questions at all,

      Danny

      1. Sorry, wanted to add. She is over 6ft tall and still growing little bit. Her PT have her do squats. Not sure if she really should?

  13. Thanks Danny,
    It’s frustrating that MDs don’t seem to have a plan for this type of injuries. As typical on this forum my daughter is an athlete who loves her sport. I am actually taking her back to the knee MD we have seen before this week. And after her season is over in few weeks I am taking her for 2nd opinion to a pediatric orthopedist.

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