FNQ Podiatry & Orthotics

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Children’s Knee Pain (Osgood Schlatter’s) Treatment Cairns

Osgood Schlatter’s is one of the most common causes of knee pain that we see in children/adolescents presenting at FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics. In Osgood Schlatter’s, pain is often noted just below the front of the knee and is associated with swelling and point tenderness. Despite symptoms being relatively mild at first, pain levels can progress rapidly and result in significant inflammation and discomfort in the area. Osgood Schlatter’s generally occurs in active children between the ages of 9 – 15. We’ll discuss the causes and treatment below, but if you are seeking children’s knee pain treatment Cairns, contact FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics today to make an appointment. We can help.

What Causes Osgood Schlatter’s / Children's Knee Pain?

Osgood Schlatter’s is caused by repetitive pulling of the quadriceps tendon, against the top of the shin bone, known as the tibia. As with every other bone in the body, a child’s tibia has a growth plate that is situated just below the knee. This allows the bone to grow appropriately during the developmental years. In active children, that do a lot of running or jumping, the quadriceps tendon tightens and starts to pull excessively on the growth plate of the tibia. This starts to cause micro-damage to the growth plate and gradually starts to become inflamed. Osgood Schatter’s can be extremely painful and debilitating, but generally responds quickly to early, appropriate Podiatry treatment.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of Osgood Schlatter’s?

Symptoms often start quite mild, so parents sometimes hold off on getting children’s knee pain treatment Cairns, until their child starts limping. During this time, it can turn into a chronic condition, leading to a significantly increased recovery time. The following is a list of the most common Osgood Schlatter’s symptoms:

  • Tenderness on the tibial tuberosity that sits just below the knee cap.
  • Swelling and inflammation around the site.
  • Pain when running, kicking or jumping.
  • A feeling of weakness or instability at the front of the knee.
  • In chronic cases, the tibial tuberosity can become enlarged due to bone spurring and inflammation.

Whilst Osgood Schlatter’s is a common condition, it should be treated as early and as aggressively as possible.

Children’s Podiatry Video

How Is Osgood Schlatter’s Diagnosed & Treated?

A thorough biomechanical examination and detailed history will most commonly be enough to diagnose Osgood Schlatter’s. Depending on severity of symptoms, you may/may not be referred for an x-ray or ultrasound to rule out any other issues, however this is rare. Treatment options are largely tailored around addressing the individual risk factors. Given this, the initial consultation will involve a thorough lower limb biomechanical assessment to determine what your contributing factors are. As with most injuries, early treatment is the best form of treatment as this will help reduce the chances of the Osgood Schlatter’s turning into a chronic condition. Common Cairns children’s knee pain treatment, for Osgood Schlatter’s includes:

  • Moderated rest. As Osgood Schlatter’s is an over-use injury, the most important first line treatment recommendation is reducing activity levels. This often starts with unnecessary activities such as running around on weekends or in the child’s lunch breaks at school. This is to try and keep them participating in their desired sport. Severe cases can result in the patient having to take a short amount of time off running to help allow the tibial tuberosity to settle down.
  • Strapping/taping. Helps to reduce the tension of the patella tendon on the growth plate.
  • Massage through the quadricep muscles. The looser the quadricep muscle is, the less tension there is in the patella tendon and therefore less pulling against the growth plate of the shin bone.
  • Soft, Custom Orthotics. If your feet have been determined to be contributing to excessive movement through your knee e.g. rolling in, custom made orthotics are prescribed in order to correct this (only used if biomechanically required).
  • Strengthening program. To address any underlying weaknesses and to progressively load the tendon.

How Long Will Osgood Schlatter’s Pain Take To Get Better?

As mentioned above, the earlier you seek treatment for Osgood Schlatter’s, the quicker it will get better. Osgood Schlatter’s tends to respond really well to the above conservative treatment options, assuming there is a high level of compliance from the child and parents. If you are looking for effective, professional children’s knee pain treatment Cairns, contact FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics. We will get them on the road to recovery. Call (07) 4045 5749 to book an appointment.

Why Did Your Child Get Osgood Schlatter’s?

Whilst any child between the ages of 9 – 15 can develop Osgood Schlatter’s, there are some common risk factors we have identified, that significantly increase the chances of suffering from this. They include:

  • Over-activity. Osgood Schlatter’s is extremely common in children who are playing multiple sports during the week and on weekends. This is particularly true for sports that involve a lot of running/jumping such as basketball, soccer, netball etc.
  • Children with tight quadricep muscles. The tighter the quadricep muscles, the tighter the patella tendon is and therefore, the more tension there is at the growth plate.
  • Children who experience rapid growth spurts. This leads to tightening of the quadriceps muscles and patella tendon as per above.
  • Poor quality footwear. Poor quality shoes leads to abnormal movements of the foot/ankle and therefore leads to more force being placed upon the knee.
  • Feet that roll in (pronate). When the foot and ankle rolls in, it leads to the shin bone internally rotating. As the shin bone makes up half of the knee joint, the knee then rotates in and leads to bowing of the patella tendon. This bowing leads to excessive workload of the tendon and therefore more pulling at the growth plate.
  • Sudden increase in physical activity. Osgood Schlatter’s is extremely common February – May in Australia as it is during pre-season for winter sports. If activity levels are suddenly increased, the patella tendon and bone don’t have time to adapt and therefore gets aggravated quickly.
  • Sports involving hard surfaces. Hard surfaces leads to increase load being placed through the knee e.g. basketball or netball.