By: Crissy Ott, Physical Therapist
Osgood Schlatter’s is a term that describes the excessive pull of the patellar tendon where it attaches on the tibial tubercle just below the knee cap. This disorder almost exclusively occurs in children ages 11-15 years of age as they are entering puberty.
Several characteristics are seen with kids experiencing this problem:
1. a recent rapid growth spurt has occurred at the same time as the pain
2. increased bone has developed below the knee cap so that a “knob” is visibly present where the quadriceps tendon attaches below the knee
3. tenderness to the touch where the “knob” is present below the knee cap
4. pain with most weight bearing activities, including walking is associated with this problem
In treating these kids, the most important point to remember is that there is almost always an underlying biomechanical imbalance contributing to the problem that needs to be corrected so that the issue does not reoccur. Most patients come in stating that they have been stretching to help the issue, but remember that due to that fact that this problem is created from a constant stretch on the tibia from the quad, stretching will actually aggravate the condition. Icing to calm down the inflammation will help, but addressing the underlying imbalances is ultimately what will help these kids get over the condition the quickest. Remembering that this condition is highly treatable and getting the kids in for therapy as soon as it starts is beneficial in helping with overall healing.