Many adolescents suffer from knee pain, which is generally associated with bone growth. However, the complaints can also be traced back to a disease called Osgood-Schlatter's disease. Severe pain below the kneecap during exercise is a typical characteristic. The associated limitation of mobility is particularly unpleasant for young people, but care should be taken to avoid any long-term impairment.
Osgood-Schlatter's disease is named after an American (Robert Osgood) and a Swiss surgeon (Carl Schlatter) - who independently addressed the problem at the beginning of the 20th century. They described an ossification disorder at the tendon root below the kneecap at the level of the tibia head, which in the worst case can be accompanied by the splintering of small bone particles. The result is sharp knee pain, swelling and restricted movement. Alternative names for the symptoms are Osgood-Schlatter disease, osteochondrosis deformans juvenilis tuberositas tibiae, apophysitis tibialis adolescentium or also continuum distortion below the kneecap.
Symptoms and discomfort
In the case of the disease, there is stinging pain at the base of the tendon of the four-membered thigh muscle below the kneecap, which usually shows up during exercise such as sports activities or long walking, and there is often tenderness to pressure. A swelling is also often seen. This can also be present without complaints. Sufferers often describe their symptoms themselves as knee pain, kneecap pain or pain below the kneecap.
The symptoms usually appear in 11-13 year old male adolescents and athletes. It is believed that there is an imbalance between loading of the tendon insertion and ossification and thus irritation and tearing of individual pieces of bone can occur. However, the development of the symptoms has not yet been clearly clarified.
The diagnosis is usually made on the basis of palpation of the knee and the symptoms described (pain after exertion under the kneecap). Further examinations such as X-rays are only necessary if changes in the bone structure are suspected or other diseases are to be excluded.
The main purpose of the treatment is to protect the affected knee. Further sporting loads are to be avoided and if necessary, a plaster cast is temporarily put on. Drugs can be used to treat the joint pain, and accompanying physiotherapy also has positive effects. Ultimately, however, it takes sufficient time for healing. If the growth is complete or the growth joints are closed, sufficient ossification occurs and the symptoms decrease. However, this can take months and those affected are relatively severely restricted in their mobility during this time. Sometimes there are also annoying ossifications that have to be surgically removed.
Naturopathy and Osgood-Schlatter's disease
To treat acute pain in the knee joint in Osgood-Schlatter's disease, refrigeration applications from the field of hydrotherapy are often used successfully in naturopathy. However, they only serve to relieve symptoms. Manual therapies, however, are said to have a positive effect on healing.
Concepts such as osteopathy or Rolfing involve the entire organism in diagnosis and treatment. Factors such as the overall statics, vascular supply and use in everyday life and under stress are taken into account in the therapy.
According to the approach of the fascia distortion model (FDM), the symptoms are due to a disruption in the soft tissue-bone transition. It is therefore treated with strong thumb pressure at various points below the kneecap. All in all, the manual treatment methods can certainly help the symptoms to subside quickly, provided that those affected consider giving up stress. (jvs, tf, fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Jeanette Viñals Stein, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Professional association for orthopedics and trauma surgery e. V .: Osgood-Schlatter's disease (accessed: August 14, 2019), orthinform.de
- Osgood-Schlatter syndrome (accessed: August 14, 2019), msdmanuals.com
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: Osgood-Schlatter Disease (Knee Pain) (access: August 14, 2019), orthoinfo.aaos.org
- Mayo Clinic: Osgood-Schlatter disease (accessed: August 14, 2019), mayoclinic.org
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Osgood-Schlatter Disease (accessed: August 14, 2019), hopkinsmedicine.org
- Harvard Health Publishing: Osgood-Schlatter Disease (accessed: August 14, 2019), health.harvard.edu
ICD codes for this disease: M92ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.