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For Parents Osgood Schlatter

gymnasticzmom

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Hi all, my 11 yr old (12 in November) dd has had Osgood Schlatter (as well as soreness) on both knees for about 4 months now it started when we came back to the gym from quarantine since I think she might have had a growth spurt? It's getting to the point where I can't watch her in the gym without feeling bad for not pulling her out earlier or doing something. She often complains about it and it hurts every time she goes to practice and her knees sometimes give out on tumbling and vault. The doctors have just said that she'll eventually outgrow it but I notice that she has a limp and often gets to the point where she can't walk properly. The gym doesn't let her take time off without a doctor's note and seems to not give it much attention. We've tried just about everything (Oscon, KTape, supplements, etc) but it seems like nothing is helping her. I also don't think it's healthy for her to take NSAID's every time she goes to practice :rolleyes: but I'm not a medicine practitioner so I don't know how true that is. Does anyone have any ideas what else could work or any gymnasts that had/have osd? Sorry for the length of this. But anything helps as I'm open to basically everything to see if she can feel at least a little better. Thank you!
 

mommyof1

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Has she been to ortho, or just the pediatrician? As a parent I would be asking ortho about rest, the Cho-Pat knee strap, and PT. If PT is prescribed, I would recommend a sports PT practice, preferably one that works with D1 athletes.
 

gymnasticzmom

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Has she been to ortho, or just the pediatrician? As a parent I would be asking ortho about rest, the Cho-Pat knee strap, and PT. If PT is prescribed, I would recommend a sports PT practice, preferably one that works with D1 athletes.
Thank you so much! Yes, she has been to an ortho but I'll definitely ask about the strap next time we see them. She went to PT for about 3 weeks but we saw it wasn't the ideal place since they didn't work with children...but we'll look into more places! Thank you again.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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Mine did PT at a office specifically for athletes. It helped a lot.

My experience is limited to my kid, but it seems like OS is more likely to get very severe the more you ignore it and keep going. Yes, my daughter's ortho said she'd eventually outgrow it, but he also said to listen to her body and reign it in when her knees start hurting. AS SOON as her knees start hurting she limits almost all her impacts. We tried every strap known to man and they all bothered her. I used to KT tape them, and that helped, but now we find that prewrap wrapped snugly around the knee and rolled down is her preference.

But she needs to baby them. Because my kid eases up as soon as they start to hurt, her flare ups usually aren't too bad and don't last that long. But from what I see online, continuing training as usual can often lead to more and more severe pain, until it can become a real medical problem that requires orthopedic intervention. If she's limping and her knees are giving out in practice that's really unhealthy. I'd get with a better ortho or PT and come up with a plan that will prioritize her health.
 

raenndrops

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If you have a children's hospital (or a "satellite" of one), that would be a good place to go.
YG saw an ortho from Children's (a satellite that is literally 5 blocks from the gym) for her sprained ankle ... and did PT through them too - so the PT she had ONLY worked with children. 75-80% of their patients are athletes, and they gear the PT to their particular sport (or sports). For YG, that meant focusing on ankle stability specifically for balance in addition to strengthening the ankle in general.

Now, for OLDER kids (mid-late teens), I could see possibly going with a PT that works with D1 athletes (if it's reasonably possible); but for younger kids, a PT with gymnastics experience that specializes in children is often just as, if not more, effective.
 

Madden3

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OSD is something that happens not typically just to any random growing kid, but specifically to high impact athletes. It is impact related. So while yes it has to do with growth, it also has to do with impact.

Older son diagnosed OSD one knee around age 11-12. Rest was definitely needed until the pain reduced. He still went to practice, but he worked upper body and flexibility - no jumping, running etc until pain reduced significantly. Had to do this more than once. Yes strap if it helps, yes pt probably. But for this really bad pain time, she probably needs rest. Think of it this way, if her knees are "giving out" on tumbling and vault that is possibly risking injury. During this period son seriously hyper extended on bad tumbling pass landing and injured the other knee.

Also, outside of gym- wear supportive shoes, check if she needs inserts, avoid walking on hard surfaces when possible, if in school watch out for effects of heavy backpack wearing.

"Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter disease includes reducing the activity that makes it worse, icing the painful area, using kneepads or a patellar tendon strap, and anti-inflammatory medication." https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/osgoodschlatter-disease

Sorry, I know it sucks, but maybe she needs to go back to doctor and get a very specific note. Make sure doctor and pt understands how intense/long/frequent gymnastics practice is. She can also do pt exercises at practice. Maybe she can see a sports medicine specialist.

Son now 17, no longer gymnast but track- sprints and jumps. No problem at all with knees last three-four years.
 
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gymisforeveryone

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If the gym doesn't let her take time off, that's a red flag! You don't need a doctor's note. It's your child, it's not school, it's just activity that she's doing for fun. She really needs to take time off, and you need to find what is the optimal amount of hours that she can practice and her knees can take.

For now, tell her coaches that she will take a week off and then come to practice every other day, and rest for the other practices. And when she is in the gym, she will do bars and beam (but no hard tumbling or jumps on beam, like back tucks or split jumps) and on vault and floor she is happy to do some drills that don't involve hard landings, jumping, bouncing or running. If the coaches refuse to give her drills, she will do conditioning on those events.

The coaches should know that this is very painful disease and tumbling is very painful and can be dangerous, if her knees just collapse...

One of my gymnasts had it really bad for over a year. It happened when she started her growth spurt, she was 14 I think. Now she's 16 and pain free. It was a really tough year for her mentally, but now she's back stronger and happier.
 

M2Abi

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My daughter had Osgood Schlatters and took time off more than once. It was about 18 months from start of pain until she no longer had pain. She still has the big bump on her knee. It definitely affected what she could do (she didn't compete vault at all one season) and she had two not so great seasons because of it and had to repeat. It varies in severity so listen to your daughter and let her decide what she can and can't do. We switched gyms because the coach thought he knew more than we did and it was "only Osgood Schlatters."
 

gymnasticzmom

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Thank you so much for all of the replies! Some more info: At the beginning of it (about 4-6 months ago) she was instructed by her doctor to take 3 weeks off, but the gym decided it was ok for her to come back 2 weeks earlier so 1 week off?! I don't know what was the thought process in that decision but anyways, she says that she can do all the stuff but it hurts super bad. I try to get her to communicate but she's scared of talking to the coaches, so it seems like a dead end until she grows out of it sometimes. She also told me that it is actually way worse the day after her practice so since she has practices in a row it hurts even more and even warm-up is a struggle to even get through. I tried talking to the coaches and they said that they "didn't notice her limping" even though she does. It's annoying of them to say that honestly but we did get a recommendation of shockwave therapy (and something her osteopath recommended that started with o or ost something that was like a powder one for morning and night)? I don't quite know what it is but I'll look into it...
 
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Flippin'A

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Thank you so much for all of the replies! Some more info: At the beginning of it (about 4-6 months ago) she was instructed by her doctor to take 3 weeks off, but the gym decided it was ok for her to come back 2 weeks earlier so 1 week off?! I don't know what was the thought process in that decision but anyways, she says that she can do all the stuff but it hurts super bad. I try to get her to communicate but she's scared of talking to the coaches, so it seems like a dead end until she grows out of it sometimes. She also told me that it is actually way worse the day after her practice so since she has practices in a row it hurts even more and even warm-up is a struggle to even get through. I tried talking to the coaches and they said that they "didn't notice her limping" even though she does. It's annoying of them to say that honestly but we did get a recommendation of shockwave therapy (and something her osteopath recommended that started with o or ost something that was like a powder one for morning and night)? I don't quite know what it is but I'll look into it...
I don't have any helpful OS info to share, but I just wanted to say that it's a huge red flag if a gym is actively going against your doctor, dismissing you, and making your DD afraid to talk to them. This behavior is not okay or indicative of a healthy environment and should be something that you take very seriously. Coaches are not doctors and do not get to decide whether a gymnast is injured or not. I would tell the gym in no uncertain terms that she is taking a break per doctor's orders and if they have a problem with that they can say goodbye to your tuition.

Sorry-- don't mean to soapbox but I went to a gym with a similar mindset as a child and I have old teammates with lingering pain now as adults. It also really trains your brain to ignore pain signals which can get dangerous.
 

coachmolly

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I was diagnosed with OS as a 10 year old, ortho just said to let pain be my guide, take NSAIDs, ice, rest as needed but that I wouldn't cause further harm by pushing through. It never fully went away. I am now well into adulthood and still have a massive OS lump under my knee that causes pain from time to time. It's apparently uncommon but not unheard of for that to happen. I talked to a PT who specializes in treating gymnasts a few years ago and asked about the protocol I followed in childhood and he basically said the advice I received (from a sports ortho) was incorrect and that continuing to train with OS can indeed cause further harm. He said that often gymnasts with OS are experiencing rapid growth but also have various imbalances in muscles that need to be addressed (tight quads are super common in kids with OS), thus the need for PT. I would look into meeting with an ortho who specializes in treating youth athletes specifically and also possibly consider PT. And make sure the protocols are being followed by gymnast and coaches- be specific! It's annoying (for kid & coach) but it's so much better to be patient than keep pushing through and risking something worse.
 

raenndrops

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I was diagnosed with OS as a 10 year old, ortho just said to let pain be my guide, take NSAIDs, ice, rest as needed but that I wouldn't cause further harm by pushing through. It never fully went away. I am now well into adulthood and still have a massive OS lump under my knee that causes pain from time to time. It's apparently uncommon but not unheard of for that to happen. I talked to a PT who specializes in treating gymnasts a few years ago and asked about the protocol I followed in childhood and he basically said the advice I received (from a sports ortho) was incorrect and that continuing to train with OS can indeed cause further harm. He said that often gymnasts with OS are experiencing rapid growth but also have various imbalances in muscles that need to be addressed (tight quads are super common in kids with OS), thus the need for PT. I would look into meeting with an ortho who specializes in treating youth athletes specifically and also possibly consider PT. And make sure the protocols are being followed by gymnast and coaches- be specific! It's annoying (for kid & coach) but it's so much better to be patient than keep pushing through and risking something worse.
Totally agree with finding an ortho theat specializes in young athletes and looking into PT.

Lol, I was diagnosed with something similar to OS when I was 8 (although I may have mis-diagnosed since chondromalacia patella usually affects adults whose growth plates had already fused). My ortho's orders was really harsh:
1. No running
2. No sports
3. No gaining weight
4. Do a set of knee exercises that he gave me 3x a day.
I asked how long I had to follow the orders ... I was young ... I asked "How long do I gotta do all of this for?"
He told me FOREVER ... and IF I followed his orders, I wouldn't need a new knee until I was 40 years old.
No clue how I was supposed to follow #3 without breaking #1 and / or #2, lol. I was in 2nd grade. How was I supposed to grow up without gaining weight???
I tried my best to follow directions (but I was a hyperactive child, lol). I was barred from going to recess because I might run or play kickball. In gym class, I was allowed to do (most of) the exercises, but when they played the fun game, I had to do my knee exercises.
The diagnosis was in early November (because I didn't tell my parents my knee hurt until AFTER football season was over).
I made it to Christmas break following the orders (for the most part ... he never said no skipping and no cartwheels, lol). While home on Christmas break, my parents eventually sent me outside to play because I was bouncing off the walls. The first day back to school, my dad came and told my teacher to forget the doctor's orders. He may have (he can't remember) even gone to the office and torn up the order. I was basically going to just let pain be my guide. I am now 48 years old, weigh more than I did in 2nd grade, and still have both of my original knees - I am just lacking cartilage.
 
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Eleven sol

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Echo the others, PT and time off any time she has pain. Severs is a similar type injury related to impact and growth. It really, really is not fun and I wondered often why I was paying so much for gymnastics when she could not participate 1/4 of the time. I had her transition to swimming lessons and eventually she went beyond that to a rec swim team (low impact) when she was having a flare up. But you have to avoid permanent injury. On the other side of it and my kid is doing great. But it took two years
 

MuggleMom

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I am now well into adulthood and still have a massive OS lump under my knee that causes pain from time to time. It's apparently uncommon but not unheard of for that to happen. I talked to a PT who specializes in treating gymnasts a few years ago and asked about the protocol I followed in childhood and he basically said the advice I received (from a sports ortho) was incorrect and that continuing to train with OS can indeed cause further harm.

Thats interesting I was diagnosed in HS they said if it still hurt after growth plates shut I would need surgery to clean it out. It still hurt I had surgery then it didnt hurt anymore (however I wasnt a high level gymnast and only did one more year of gym after surgery). I still have the big bump on my knee though, and I can tell in that knee when its going to rain lol.