Osgood Schlatters, Injury Rehabilitation
What Causes Osgood Schlatters?
Osgood is more than just growing pains
To understand what causes Osgood-Schlatter Disease (OSD) you first need to understand what it is.
Put simply, OSD occurs when the bones are growing too fast for the muscles to keep up. Specifically, the thigh bone (femur) grows too fast for the longest quad muscle (rectus femoris) putting extra tension on the attachment point under the knee cap. With every step the athlete takes the quad muscles are pulling at that attachment (the tibial tuberosity).
Below is an isolated picture of the femur and rec fem, and a closer view of the knee. The shiny thing in the middle is the prepatellar bursa which sits in front of the kneecap itself (the patellar). You can see the tendon runs from the quad and down to its attachment site at the top of the shin bone (tibia).
Too much sport, not enough rest
While rapidly growing bones are one of the key factors driving Osgood Schlatters in kids, it’s not the only thing.
If it were then every young athlete would suffer OSD but that simply isn’t the case.
Osgood Schlatters is as much a disease caused by rapidly growing bones as it is an overuse injury of the tendon/enthesis in active children who are not strong, mobile or skilled enough to handle the amount of activity they do.
With that in mind, we take lessons from knee tendon rehabilitation experts across the world, who all agree on one crucial point.
Tendons love Consistency.
Or in this case:
Osgood Schlatters Hates Randomness
Randomness can come in all forms; training frequency, intensity of running and jumping, a change of sport, harder or softer training surfaces, shorter rest periods, days off, warm up and cool down methods and so on.
We often see young athletes all but cure their Osgood Schlatters with our program, only to take a break from sport for holidays and then dive straight back into a full training schedule when school returns.
Two-three weeks later they see a return of their Osgood pain due to the sudden spike in training load.
It’s also not uncommon for Osgood to first start like this. The biggest surge in new Osgood clients in our gym is in the first month back from summer break.
Load Management for Osgood
In sports science this is known as load management or the Acute to Chronic workload ratio. It’s the balancing act between how much training you have done over the past four weeks (chronic workload) and your acute activity levels (acute workload).
Keeping these in balance is a big part of our job as athletic development coaches. It is also something we are super passionate about at Core Advantage. We have written in depth about it here.
Poor load management can be a big factor that causes Osgood Schlatters.
This balancing act of acute and chronic training loads is a big part of why we don’t recommend taking weeks or months of rest with Osgood Schlatters. It makes it so much harder to successfully return to full training in the future.
Instead a period of relative rest, followed by a smooth, gradual return to full intensity is key. Although this can be easier said than done especially for energetic teenagers and children.
Throughout The Secret to Curing Osgood Schlatters seven week training program be guided through the exercises, warm up methods and recovery instructions to get you back to sport as quickly as possible, we also provide the methods and tools to create consistency in your training week for strong, pain free knees.
In seven short weeks, eliminate your Osgood Schlatters and return to sport pain free and stronger than ever.
More from the Osgood Blog
Advice and experience to help manage your Osgood.
Seven Week Osgood Training Program