Pay attention! This is not a rare diagnosis among younger athletes. I have actually trained several athletes with Osgood Schlatter. You may think this is rare but Osgood Schlatter is actually pretty common among youth soccer players. Most diagnoses are given between the ages of 14-18 but the second highest age group is ages 6-13. The prevalence of Osgood Schlatter makes it important for you to get educated on diagnosis, treatment, prevention & more! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
What is Osgood Schlatter disease
Osgood Schlatter is a painful condition (lump) above the shin bone (tibia) found a few inches below the knee cap that is usually felt from kids ages 11-14 years old. This diagnosis usually results from a combination of kids going through a growth spurt and who are active in sports. This usually last a few months and there is not much you can do besides rest as much as you can (using the RICE method).
Athletes tend to play through it and deal with the pain but I advise you just alter the training if you can. For example, if you are a serious adolescent athlete maybe your parents and coach talk about a special program that you can do either during practice or on your own like more core work and less jumping, squatting or change of direction.
Symptoms of Osgood Schlatter
The first symptom is usually the person will start rubbing their shin & knee once they first start feeling the pain. The pain may become more exaggerated with bending, squatting or jumping. There are also cases from adults up in their 30s and 40s who describe the pain as severe at times, although the frequency is less at these ages. Finally, a lump actually presents itself just below the knee cap, about 1 inch. Picture a marble underneath the skin to understand the size and shape of the lump.
3 treatment methods
3 most susceptible groups of people
- Ages 9-16 mostly but some younger & older can get it.
- Athletes involved in sports that require jumping, squatting, cutting, sprinting.
- Going through a growth spurt
How Osgood Schlatter feels
Different types of pain may present themselves, depending on the day or lifestyle. Some experience aching, swelling, tenderness or shocking pain up the legs or tenderness when kneeling or squatting. Then again we all have different pain tolerances. Just know that while the pain may present itself differently to you, whenever you feel pain – get it checked out!
Best & worst time to get injured
Haha – I just wanted to see if you were reading. Is there ever a ‘best’ time to get injured? If you have a case of Osgoods presenting itself, hopefully you are entering or it is during the off-season or around the Holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s). This is a time for rest for most athletes in middle school & high school & college.
The worst time to get Osgoods would be during an important tryout or game because these are really times when you need to play through the pain because for most serious athletes who love their sport they don’t want to miss these chances that only come every so often. My point is try to sit out and rest as much as you can when you can but I know there are these certain chapters in an adolescents life that are so important to them.
If you have to play
There are just times when we have to play hurt but make sure you take all the steps necessary for you. You don’t want to make things worse. Prevention and education are usually what keep people from getting these injuries or expediting recovery, which is why these education pieces are on the blog! 🙂
Before practices & games, put a Warm Pack on the area for 5-10 minutes, then Warm Up and Stretch before playing or running. These steps will help short-term pain and long term healing and pain. The warm pack will help relieve some of the pain and make you feel better as you warm up and play. *TALK TO YOUR COACH and see if there is a special training program he or she can give you while you recover from Osgoods or other injuries.
5 Training ideas for a player with knee or ankle pain
I have compiled a list for 5 TRAINING WAYS to Stay Fit when your Knee or Ankle is injured. COACHES & PLAYERS should use these to help keep fit with no pain or slowing down recovery.
- A core workout is vital in keeping your body strong and protecting the rest of your muscles and joints. Plus core is great for your cardio which will help keep you fit for game play which is what players and coaches want.
- Stay Away from Jumping or Squatting if you can because this is one of the causes of the injury and it hurts to do these things.
- Swimming is great for coming off injury because its’ not the pounding you get from sprinting, jumping, changing direction fast.
- Push-ups are going to give you cardio and upper body strength and will not cause and irritation or pain to the knee.
- Bike on low resistance will keep your cardio up as well as give your lower leg strength and core.
Note: These are ideas for knee or ankle pain. If you have an injured hip, back, abdominal, or muscle strain these won’t be the steps you want to take. Always first consult with a doctor when injured.
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Scary stories for young adults
Some people have shared that they never received a medical diagnoses from a doctor, but were told by coaches or friends that it’s Osgood Schlatter due to the lump under the knee. They basically ignored it for years, never getting it checked by a doctor. They later found that more damage had been done, affecting the ACL from parts of the broken lump (scar tissue). They had to then have surgery, which helped temporarily until more scar tissue started to break off. So make sure you get checked by a Doctor early!!
Warming up is so important
Warm up and stretch before doing anything that has to do with your knees. Whether it’s a sport, having to lift or carry heavy things, do a job that requires bending or squatting, having to use ladders or stairs throughout the day – take care of your body! Even if you only have 1 minute, this time will help your body warm up and be ready for what you have to do.
Make sure you see a doctor if this last more than a few months! This can be very serious and, for some, last up to their 30s and 40s. This is way too young to have to deal with pain every day. You want to be educated & know that even though this usually only last a few months that there are cases that last WAY longer.