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Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease refers to a condition of an overuse injury that occurs in the growth region of growing children and adolescents. This is caused by disorder of the attachment site of the patellar tendon located below the knee cap where it inserts into the top of the tibia (shin bone). Children and adolescents who participate in sports such as football, gymnastics, jumping sports and distance running are at higher risk of this condition.

Causes

Outdoor sports activities which involve a lot of running and jumping may lead to significantly increased forces through the thigh muscles which in turn pull the patella tendon which connects the knee cap to the tibia. Repeated stress can cause the tendon to move away from the tibia which results in pain and swelling of the affected knee. In some cases, the body may try to close the gap with new bone growth which results in a bony lump in that region.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease include

  • Knee pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness below the knee cap area
  • A painful ‘lump’

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Osgood-Schlatter disease includes review of symptoms, medical history and radiology. A physical examination will be performed where your surgeon will check your child’s knee for pain, swelling, and inflammation. An X-ray or MRI scan may be ordered to view images of the bones of the knee and examine, in detail, the area of the affected tendons and tibia.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and swelling. The treatment includes the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Physical therapy may include strengthening exercises for the thigh muscles to help stabilize the knee joint. Most of the symptoms associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease completely disappear with completion of growth but the ‘lump’ may remain.

RCS Logo British Orthopaedic AssociationRoyal College of Surgeons of EdinburghOTSISBritish Association for knee surgeryISOAMDU LogoOTSIS

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