Osgood-Schlatter's can become a debilitating injury, but it doesn't have to be. Here is a brief overview of what Osgood-Schlatters is, and what can be done to help prevent or reduce symptoms.
Osgood- Schlatter's is a common overuse injury and it is caused by inflammation to the Patella Ligament and the Tibia Tuberosity. There a a few factors that can cause the Patella to become inflammed, one of which is a evulsion fracture of the tibia, creating a bump on top of the tibia bone. The other is a ossification of bone that develops again at the top of the Tibia, that may or may not require surgery to relieve pain.
Osgood-Schlatters can worsen with activities that require you to jump, run and use agility to cut in movement. The protocol for diagnosing Osgood-Schlatters is typically done by X-Ray and can be done by a Primary Care or Orthopedic Specialist, then referred to traditional Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy treatments may include stretching, strengthening and resting of the knee(s) depending on the severity of pain. The cost associated with Osgood-Schlatters can skyrocket with insurance deductibles and co-pay, as well as leaving the athlete frustrated on being able to practice or compete.
Because Ground Force Strength and Conditioning is youth athlete driven; we have been accustomed to developing Injury Prevention Training Programs for the past 10 years, allowing us to help reduce or prevent this common injury. Due to the rise of single sport specialization; athletes develop asymmetries in the lower limbs, especially in the Quadriceps.
"When a child is active, the quadriceps muscles pull on the patellar tendon which, in turn, pulls on the tibial tubercle. In some children, this repetitive traction on the tubercle leads to inflammation of the growth plate. The prominence, or bump, of the tibial tubercle may become very pronounced. "
However, there are preventive step you can take to help reduce the risk associated with Osgood-Schlatters. Here are a few steps you can implement at home:
1) Ice your knees and quads post training to reduce inflammation in the muscle and tendons or use Cold Water Immersion or Ice Baths help reduce perceived exertion, fatique and help eliminate metabolic waste from the muscle.
2) A 2017 study also showed that Active Recovery is just as effective in helping reduce fatigue and muscle soreness (2) as CWI. Active Recovery is a series of exercises that help keep the muscles from binding up and flushing Lactate Acid from the muscle. Active Recovery can include treatments like Myofascial Release or Foam Rolling and mobility drills to help reduce muscle stiffness. Visit here for some free resources.
3) Strength Training: A balanced strength training program is the ultimate Injury Prevention Program. Strengthening the Hamstrings and Glutes to create muscle balance is by far our go to for helping athletes reduce risk while they continue to play. Hamstring strengthening and balance training are critical to develop due to the nature of the muscle. The hamstrings absorb force, while the glutes help produce force.
4) Activation of muscles prior to activity can be hugely beneficial for the nervous system and warming up the muscle tissue. Completing a dynamic warm up has been shown to be an effective tool at preventing injury.
Lastly, being consistent in your recovery efforts should be just as important as the training itself. If you have a training program, then you should have a recovery program as well.If you missed the Free Resource Page on our Website, we have a few different downloadable PDFs for you to use here.