Growing up is a pain in the knee

Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas Physical Therapist at AHS

When I was little I had heard the term growing pains and I thought it was just a phrase used for not getting my way when I wanted something. It turns out growing pains are real. It can happen in a few different places in the body, but today I’m going on focus on Osgood Schlatter’s disease. Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a form of knee pain that occurs in some adolescents. The area right below the kneecap becomes inflammed. This is where the tendon from the knee attaches (patellar tendon) to the tibia.

Causes/Risk Factors:

This inflammation tends to happen when the biggest changes are occurring to the muscle, bones and tendons. The most rapid change occurs during a growth spurt. More active children are at a higher risk because of the increased stress put on the joint and tendon. High impact sports involving running and jumping are the worst offenders. Why does growing hurt there? The end of bones in children and adolescents have a growth plate. The physis is the weakest point in the muscle-tendon-bone-attachment (as opposed to the tendon in an adult) and therefore, at risk of injury from repetitive stress. Who gets it? Osgood Schlatter’s is more common in boys than girls. Onset coincides with adolescent growth spurts between ages 10 to 15 years for males and 8 to 13 years for females. 

Treatment/Prognosis  

Exercise therapy consists of flexibility and strengthening exercises of the surrounding hip, knee, and ankle muscles. Low-intensity exercises are done within the initial phase of rehab and gradually progressed to tolerance. Total immobilization is avoided. Instead, activities should be modified to limit further overuse injury. Taping or the use of a brace is also recommended to provide support and deload the patellofemoral joint. 

Prognosis is excellent for most cases and symptoms are temporary and tend to decrease within 6-18 months. Non-operative treatment has been effective when exercises are done for the appropriate duration with empahsis on proper alignment and techniques.

How can we help?

Here at Allied Health Solutions we will tailor exercies and stretches to your specific deficits and give you the tools you need to improve on your own time. We will use hands on therapy techniques to reduce pain and help you return to the activities that you love to do.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441995/

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Osgood-Schlatter’s_Disease

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