When going through puberty, many adolescents experience growing pains. As the body grows quickly, more stress and pressure is placed on stretching tendons while muscles and other body parts grow more slowly and try to keep up with the body. This can often cause pain in joints like knees, elbows, and back. Usually this pain comes and goes, eventually disappearing completely when the growth spurts stop after puberty.
However, sometimes the pain can be more severe than just growing pains. Osgood-Schlatter Disease refers to knee pain, often in adolescents, that is more severe than growing pains but is heavily tied to them. There are some key differences between OSD and growing pains in terms of causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to keep an eye out for when your child is going through their growth spurts.
Causes, Prevention, and Treatment
Osgood-Schlatter Disease is characterized by knee pain accompanied by a painful, bony bump on the shinbone just below the knee. Following a growth spurt, the contraction of quadriceps puts repeated stress on the patellar tendon (in the knee). This can cause small bone fractures and inflammation of the tendon. This leads to excess bone growth and a visible lump grows just below the knee. This lump and the surrounding area can be very painful when hit or when overused.
It appears most commonly in children and adolescents experiencing growth spurts who also engage in physical activity, like sports. Any sport that involves a swift change of direction, like soccer, basketball, football, ballet, or gymnastics, can put more stress on the knees and lead to Osgood-Schlatter Disease developing. Pain typically worsens with these activities.
The pain can be resolved on its own, although it may last for a few weeks or months inconsistently until the growth spurt stops. Treatment is usually rest, ice, specific quad stretches and exercises, and over the counter painkillers when necessary. If there is swelling and redness, a fever, or a locking in the joint, it’s best to seek emergency medical attention.
Physiotherapy helps with Osgood-Schlatter Disease as well as growing pains in general in adolescents. Physiotherapy for knee pain helps to improve the strength of quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius muscles. This strength building can help alleviate pressure on the tendons in the knee, reduce the inflammation, and alleviate growing pains and pain associated with OSD.
Contact Physio Art for Physiotherapy for Knee Pain
If you or your child are suffering from prolonged growing pains or knee pains, contact Physio Art in Hamilton. We can provide physiotherapy for knee pain caused by a variety of issues, including Osgood-Schlatter disease.
For more information or to book your Hamilton physiotherapy appointment, contact us today!