How Dangerous Is Osgood Schlatter & Is It Contagious?

Osgood-Schlatter is the common cause of joint pain in developing children and young adolescents. It’s characterized by knee inflammation just below the joint. The region of the kneecap tendon attaches to the tibia (shinbone) gets affected. This happens most often during rapid growth when certain bones, muscles, and tendons develop rapidly and not usually at the same pace. Differences in growth rate between tissues (the size and intensity of the quadriceps muscle) will put more strain on the development base near the side of the shinbone.(1)

This makes the region weaker and more prone to detachment than other parts of the bone. As a result, it may irritate high tension and overuse. This discomfort may lead to a painful lump under the kneecap, which is the primary sign of Osgood-Schlatter disorder. It can occur as a result of injuries with a sharp (stressful) increase in the load on the knee joint, in which deformations on the tibia are formed and blood circulation is disturbed.

How Dangerous is Osgood Schlatter Disease?

The doctor will tell how to treat Schlatter in children, although most often, all the symptoms of the disease usually disappear at the end of the formation and growth of the skeletal system. Complications of this disease are quite rare, sometimes they can be expressed by aching pains and local swelling. In this case, a course of treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be carried out, and cold therapy is used to relieve puffiness.

Thus it cannot be called a dangerous disease. But if left untreated or ignored (continuing heavy sports activities despite pain, it can cause complications including the limited knee joint movement; muscle hypotrophy of the affected limb; and complete knee-joint immobilization.(2)

Symptoms Of The Condition

The main symptoms of Schlatter’s disease in adults and children are as follows: 

  • Pain and swelling in the area of the tuberosity, slightly below the calyx; 
  • Pain in the knees, especially during physical exertion on the joint, for example, when jumping, running, which quickly decreases at rest; 
  • A tension surrounding muscle tissue.(3)

Is Osgood Schlatter Disease A Contagious Condition?

Osgood Schlatter’s is a physiological condition and does not happen due to any infection from pathogenic microorganisms. So there is no chance of it being contagious. Parents need to remember that the provocateur of this disease is non-serious periodic knee injuries. The reason lies in the tubular bones containing growth hones, which are entirely composed of cartilage formed at the end of the bone. Since the strength of this cartilage is minimal, it is easily damaged. 

Such damage is associated with swelling and pain in the knee. In some cases, this kind of load can lead to rupture of the tendons and make the condition more severe. As a rule, the body tries to independently cope with the emerging problem and for this; it builds up bone tissue to close the resulting defect. As a result, a small bump appears near the knee.

Treatment Of Osgood Schlatter Disease

Osgood Schlatter’s treatment is indicated for pronounced symptoms in both children and adults. The following measures are used as part of treatment:

The use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, physiotherapeutic procedures are used to relieve swelling, pain, and inflammation; 

Physical therapy, which allows increasing the extensibility of the 4-head muscle and tendon under the knee, as well as stabilizing the knee joint and preventing its hypermobility 

To fix and maintain the joint, special elastic products are used – knee pads. They provide stabilization of the joint, without limiting its mobility, so the knee pads are recommended to be constantly used during active movements and the training process. 

The mode of sports training should be slightly reduced; it is desirable to exclude physical exercises that are stressful for the joint, namely, jumping, running. Experts recommend excluding sports such as athletics, cycling, and swimming is recommended, especially during an exacerbation of the disease. 

The treatment of Schlatter Osgood’s disease will be effective only when all kinds of procedures and measures are used in its composition. Wearing a knee pad is mandatory during increased physical exertion, long walking, and exacerbation of pathology.(4)(5)

References:

  1. Smith JM, Bhimji S. Osgood Schlatter Disease. 2018.
  2. Siddiq MAB. Osgood-Schlatter disease unveiled under high-frequency ultrasonogram. Cureus. 2018;10(10).
  3. Itoh G, Ishii H, Kato H, Nagano Y, Hayashi H, Funasaki H. Risk assessment of the onset of Osgood–Schlatter disease using kinetic analysis of various motions in sports. PloS one. 2018;13(1).
  4. Circi E, Atalay Y, Beyzadeoglu T. Treatment of Osgood–Schlatter disease: review of the literature. Musculoskeletal surgery. 2017;101(3):195-200.
  5. Arendt EA. Editorial Commentary: Tibial Tubercle Prominence After Osgood-Schlatter Disease: What Causes Pain? : Elsevier; 2017.

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