by Tamara Sandler, M.Ed., ATC
What is Osgood-Schlatters Disease
Osgood-schlatters disease is a condition where the boney protrusion just below the knee also known as the tibial tubercle becomes painfully enlarged. As the quadriceps tendon passes over the knee cap it attaches to the tibial tubercle. In young athletes the tibial tubercle is located on a growth plate. When young athletes do repetitive cutting and jumping movements the strong tendon pulls on the weak bone causing little pieces of the bone to break off. Because the bone does not break away completely, it tries to heal its self by adding more bone, therefore making the tubercle larger. The painful affects of this injury usually subside when the athlete reaches the age of 18-20, because the growth plates fuse and the bone surrounding the area becomes stronger.
Who does Osgood-Schlatters Disease affect?
Osgood-Schlatters Disease commonly affects skeletally immature athletes that are involved in running and jumping activities. Basketball and track are some common sports associated with Osgood-Schlatters. Basketball players place great strain on their knees through cutting motions to fake out other players as well as jumping motions to shoot and lay up the ball. Track athletes are also susceptible to this injury due to the amount of running they do as well as some of the field events they participate in. Osgood-Schlatters is not only found in these two sports. Any young adolescent person or athlete can be susceptible to this injury.
How to manage the pain of Osgood-Schlatters Disease
When suffering from Osgood-Schlatters Disease Athletes should decrease activity; this type of injury needs rest to heal. If rest is not feasible during the season, there are other options to relieve the pain and pressure from the injury site while still participating. During activity a patellar tendon strap can be used. The strap acts as a lever moving the pressure off the tibial tubercle to a higher location. After activity the athlete should apply ice to the affected area. Ice massage, using a small frozen cup of water, can be applied after activity as well. To help reduce pain and swelling non steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as Ibuprofen can be taken. One of the most important things that the athlete can do to help decrease the severity of this injury, or prevent it before it occurs, is to stretch the quadriceps. Often, athletes only stretch their hamstrings and forget about their quads. The more flexible the athlete can get their quads the less strain will be applied to the injury site.
Prentice, W. E. (2003) Arnheim’s principles of athletic training a competency-based approach. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Companies INC.
Sports Injury Clinic (2008) Osgood-shlatters disease. Retrieved February 11, 2008, From http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cybertherapist/front/knee/osgood.htm
Tamara Sandler, M.Ed., ATC, will continue to serve as the Head Athletic Trainer at Carver High School through Hughston Hospital’s Athletic Training Outreach Program. This will be Tamara’s third year with the Tigers. She was a recipient of the Hughston Athletic Training Fellowship in 2006 and completed her Masters of Education in Health and Physical Education, with teacher certification in May of 2008. Tamara is employed with the Muscogee County School District and will be teaching physical education at Rigdon Road and Georgetown Elementary Schools.
She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training from the University of South Florida in May of 2006. While at USF, her responsibilities included women’s soccer, softball, men’s basketball, and football. Along with her commitment to school and athletic training duties, she was an active member of the student athletic training association and served as the Social and Intramural Chair for the organization. She is also an active member of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), Southeast Athletic Training Association (SEATA) and the Athletic Training Association of Florida (ATAF). She is married to Jared Sandler, Assistant Athletic Trainer at Columbus State University.