My friend told me my child’s knee pain might be Osgood-Schlatter’s disease. Is that serious?

Osgood-Schlatter’s disease is not serious in terms of it does not mean your child is damaging your child’s knee. However, at the Pain and Performance Clinic, we think knee pain is serious if it means it stops your child from doing the things they love like playing sports or even playing with their siblings/friends.

Who gets Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease is knee pain seen mainly in girls and boys between the ages of 9 and 14 characterized by a very specific pain point at the front of the knee. My least favorite thing about this pathology is that it is referred to as a “disease”. Osgood-Schlatter’s knee pain while termed a “diseased” it doesn’t mean that your child is permanently damaging their knee. 

How do you know if your child has it?

Knee pain in the exact point above is not the only indicator of a child suffering from Osgood-Schlatter’s. The knee pain your child is feeling will generally worsen when they are playing sports or exercising. Kicking a ball, running, jumping, and sprinting are the kind of activities that will bring on the knee pain associated with Osgood-Schlatter’s. There are also a number of tests we can apply in the clinic to see if your child’s knee pain is caused by Osgood-Schlatter’s or if their knee pain is being caused by something else. 

Can it be ‘fixed’?

Osgood-Schlatter’s is the kind of knee pain that isn’t “cured” or “fixed”, instead, you need to manage this knee pain as your child grows. It certainly does not mean they stop playing sports or exercising because of their knee pain. It will mean though initially prioritising some activities over others in order to not irritate your child’s knee pain. 

When treating Osgood-Schlatter’s at pain and performance clinic we work with you in order to manage your child’s knee pain. This means making clear plans and prioritising activities so that your child can keep doing the things they love. We advise the use of ice to reduce knee pain when it does occur, we create a strengthening program for your child to support their knee and let them exercise as they grow. Finally, we would advise your child not to stretch. While sometimes your child might feel “tight”, unfortunately, stretching won’t fix this and will often aggravate their knee pain. 

Pain doesn’t mean damage!

It is important to understand that your child is not doing damage to their knee and some pain is fine. We advise a level of 4 or 5 out of 10 for their pain max. The big thing to monitor with this knee pain is how the pain affects your child’s general daily activities. i.e. is the knee sore but they don’t have a limp and then the next day after matches the knee pain settles? This is fine. But, if their knee pain is 8 out of 10 after matches and then the same knee pain stops your child from taking the stairs the next day then their training needs to be modified. 

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Tommy Brennan

Tommy Brennan

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