It has come to my attention that information on how to manage Osgood-Schlatters disease and what it actually is, has not been documented particularly well online. For the most part, people seem to have forgotten it is teenagers that suffer with this condition but nothing has been written in a way that teenagers can easily understand, or relate to....so I shall endeavour to rectify this!
First of all. Lets bullet point this.
- Osgood-Schlatters is not a disease. But it sounds so serious it might persuade a P.E. teacher to let you off playing netball/rugby in the rain! Osgood and Schlatter were the blokes who 'discovered' the condition.
- Osgood-Schlatters is common, especially in teenage boys. This is simply because the main problem is that the Quadriceps muscles grow and become more powerful than the bone it is anchored to which is still growing and if you like, slightly soft. Has anyone reading this has ever had a puppy or young horse and been told not to over exercise it too young? Well the same applies to you! If muscles become more powerful than growing bones you can end up with problems (I shall draw a little picture shortly to demonstrate what I mean) girls, broadly speaking, do not grow such large powerful muscles but I have treated young gymnasts and female runners who have the condition.
- Can Osgood-Schlatters be cured? Yes. But not overnight! Without treatment pain will continue until the growth plate on the tibia (shin bone) has closed up....which could be months or even years depending on your age. The official stance on treatment from the NHS is that mild cases usually settle and that rest mixed with taking inflammatory's will help. Osgood-Schlatters will resolve faster with treatment because the faster the quads are lengthened and stretched, the faster the tension causing the pull on the tibial bone will be released. If you do not have access to physiotherapy or osteopathy, I advise following some of the exercises I will post on this blog. Please do not take anti-inflammatory drugs unless a medical professional advises it...even though they're available over the counter they're still powerful drugs and your livers are young and healthy and you should avoid feeding them any sort of drug if you can help it!
- Can I carry on playing the sport I love? By far the most commonly asked question and by far the most controversial to answer! As you can see above, the official NHS guidelines are to rest. However, it is worth considering how complete rest will impact on the mental health of an energetic young man/woman who perhaps is training/aiming high in their athletic field....as is often the case in the teenage patients I see. I believe that you can continue training BUT you really ought to seek specialist advice and treatment. Further more, stretching your quadriceps and hamstrings out every day, perhaps twice a day and ESPECIALLY before and after sport is crucial....CRUCIAL. If you don't then you risk injury and aggravating the condition.
O.K. thats the basic info. Next I'll post some diagrams to demonstrate in a slightly more scientific way what I'm on about and then some lovely stretches...maybe even a video if my ex-Osgood suffering patient consents to being filmed!