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The traction apophysitis injuries of adolescents are always tricky to manage as they typically occur in very active kids and these kids are always reluctant to rest! Rocktape can be part of the treatment approach for these conditions, alongside the usual modalities of treatment, the mainstay of which should be activity modification.
Osgood-Schlatters condition involves a traction apophysitis of the tibial tuberosity and this is typically quite painful. We can often get some pain relief with the use of a decompression strip across the tibial tuberosity. Place the patient’s knee in 90 degrees flexion and use a 5cm width tape. Cut a 10cm length, round the corners off, and tear the backing paper at the midpoint of the tape. Apply the tape directly over the site of most pain in “band aid” style with 80% stretch in the middle of the tape, but with no stretch for the final inch at either end. When the patient straightens their knee, the elastic properties of the tape will produce an “offlading” effect on the tissues and can therefore potentially reduce some of the pain experienced.
For Sever’s condition (traction apophysitis of the calcaneus) the tape can be applied in a similar fashion. This time the foot is dorsiflexed and the tape applied in band aid style across the insertion point of the Achilles tendon, typically the area of most pain. Again be sure not to stretch the last inch of either end of the tape, but 80% stretch can be applied in the middle of the tape. Some patients may get further relief in this condition by following the normal taping procedure for an Achilles tendon problem including a longitudinal tape running along the Achilles tendon from under the foot to mid calf (see the website demo videos for an example).
At Rocktape we acknowledge that each patient is different and most practitioners will use these suggestions only as a starting point. We encourage practitioners to adapt the techniques to suit the patient’s individual presentation.