Osgood-Schlatter (OS) disease isn’t really a disease―it is an inflammatory response to over stress of the knee. OS occurs when stresses from the thigh muscles pull on the attachment on the shin called the tibial tuberosity. In young athletes, the bones are continuing to grow. This occurs at regions in the bones called growth plates, which are regions of specialized cartilage that lay down bone. Unfortunately, these growth plates are weak areas that are prone to injury.
Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in children who participate in sports that involve running, jumping and swift changes of direction. OS typically occurs in boys ages 12 to 14 and girls ages 10 to 13. The difference is because girls enter puberty earlier than do boys. The condition usually resolves on its own, once the child’s bones stop growing.
OS is fairly simple to diagnose. Pain is noted just below the knee cap located at the bump on the shin bone. Swelling and elevation of the tibial tuberosity are also common. Symptoms occur when running, jumping, or squatting. Many young athletes visit the doctor and are simply told to rest. This is great for the knee, but bad for the athlete! If this has been your prescription, I have some good news for you.
Using a combination of chiropractic to balance the hips, stretches to loosen the thigh muscles, taping to support the tendons, and acupuncture to reduce pain and inflammation, young athletes can find relief. Acupuncture is an amazing treatment that is extremely under utilized for OS. A study in the prestigious British Medical Journal found acupuncture a valuable treatment modality:”Acupuncture should be considered in Osgood-Schlatter disease, both to manage the pain and to limit the need to take oral analgesics for a prolonged period.”
Let me tell you Avery’s story. She is a young athlete that has dealt with Osgood-Schlatter. Better yet, let Avery’s mom, Shannon, tell you her story:
“Avery began experiencing knee pain in 5th grade. At just 10, we chalked it up to growing pains. But when it began to affect her ability to participate in P.E, and play softball, we consulted her pediatrician. We began a regimen of ice, ibuprofen, and a patella strap. The flare-ups would come and go every few months. I was concerned about the use of ibuprofen so regularly, but didn’t know what else to do. We tried physical therapy, stretching, epsom salt compresses, and many other remedies.”
You can see a video of me applying kinesiology tape on Avery’s knee below:
Although many youth tolerate acupuncture without issue, some may be reluctant to try it because of the needles. The good news is laser and electrical stimulation are effective alternatives for those concerned. The bottom line―there are safe, natural alternatives to pain medications with acupuncture leading the way. With thousands of years of clinical success, it’s a proven winner!