What Parents Need to Know About Osgood-Schlatter Disease
Osgood Schlatter Disease (OSD) is a rare disorder caused by a single gene mutation. It affects only one in every 100,000 births and usually occurs during fetal development or shortly after birth.
OSD causes the bones of the fingers and toes to grow abnormally. These abnormal bones are called osseous dysplasias. They may become malformed and misshapen, or they may even break off completely from the rest of the bone. There is no cure for OSD, but there are treatments that can reduce symptoms and allow children with the condition to live normal lives.
The first signs of OSD appear between six months and two years after conception. Children with the disorder often have short stature and other physical abnormalities.
They may also experience developmental delays, learning disabilities, speech problems, and behavioral issues. Some children develop mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. Although most children recover fully from their condition within three to five years of diagnosis, some never make full recovery at all.
Although OSD is very rare, it does affect certain populations:
Children born prematurely (before 37 weeks gestation).
Children who suffer from congenital clubfoot.
Children who suffer from certain types of muscular dystrophy.
Children who experienced an abundance of stress during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Children with a family history of the disorder. If other members of your family have been diagnosed with OSD, your child has a 10% chance of being born with it.
Children born to mothers over the age of 40.
Children under a great deal of stress during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Children born with just one fully formed hand (monodactyly).
Treatments for Osgood-Schlatter Disease
There is no cure for Osteochondromalacia, but it can be treated. Most children will recover fully within five years of their initial diagnosis.
Many children experience a complete recovery within two years.
The first treatment for children with Osteochondromalacia is to rest. This means that they should limit the amount of time they spend actively playing sports or other physical activities.
Children should also take frequent breaks during any physical activity. Doctors also recommend that children not play contact sports so they do not risk damaging their knees or ankles.
The next step in treating Osteochondromalacia is surgery. Doctors can perform a medical treatment to remove damaged areas of cartilage and allow the growth plates to fuse.
This surgery is only necessary in severe cases.
Exercises such as swimming, biking, or running are recommended instead of sports like basketball or soccer. Running is not as impactful on the joints and is gentle on the knees and ankles.
Keeping your child’s weight in check is also important. Being overweight strains the joints and increases the chances of injury.
Obesity can also cause the body to produce more estrogen, which stimulates growth in the bones of the legs and feet. That growth can lead to skeletal abnormalities.
It is also important that your child gets plenty of sleep each night because their body needs time to repair itself after physical activity. Children who get less than eight hours of sleep are five times more likely to injure their knees than children who get a full night’s sleep.
Preventing Osgood-Schlatter Disease
The best way to prevent Osteochondromalacia is to make sure your child gets enough exercise without overdoing it. Make sure you follow proper playing guidelines for whatever sport they’re playing and never push them to play through the pain.
Encourage them to participate in a variety of different sports and be sure to give them time to rest in between training and competing.
Also, make sure their equipment fits them properly and is never too old or worn out. Equipment that isn’t the right size or is damaged can lead to injuries.
Finally, encourage your child to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D to support healthy bones and muscles.
Living with Osteochondromalacia
Children who have been diagnosed with Osteochondromalacia should wear a protective sleeve on their knee and use crutches when necessary. Most children are able to lead normal lives without too many restrictions so long as they continue to follow a doctor’s recommendations.
While most cases of Osteochondromalacia are mild, more serious cases can lead to stunted growth in the long term. This is usually only seen in more extreme cases, but children who show signs of stunted growth should be monitored closely.
Osteochondromalacia is a condition that mostly affects children who are physically active. Most cases are mild and go away on their own as the child grows older.
More serious cases can be treated through medication, surgery, or physical therapy to alleviate symptoms. Most kids can live normal lives so long as they get the right treatment.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
De Quervain Tenosynovitis
Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome
Sources & references used in this article:
Separating the myths from facts: time to take another look at Osgood-Schlatter ‘disease’ by S Holden, MS Rathleff – 2020 – bjsm.bmj.com
Ultrasonography as a diagnostic modality in Osgood-Schlatter disease by A Blankstein, I Cohen, M Heim, M Salai… – Archives of orthopaedic …, 2001 – Springer
Osgood-Schlatter disease: The painful puzzler by MA Mital, RA Matza – The Physician and sportsmedicine, 1977 – Taylor & Francis
Current management strategies in Osgood Schlatter: A cross‐sectional mixed‐method study by KD Lyng, MS Rathleff, BJF Dean… – … Journal of Medicine …, 2020 – Wiley Online Library
Activity Modification and Knee Strengthening for Osgood-Schlatter Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study by MS Rathleff, L Winiarski, K Krommes… – … Journal of Sports …, 2020 – journals.sagepub.com