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Osgood-Schlatter Disease(Osteochondrosis)
Definition

Osgood-Schlatter disease is inflammation of the bone and surrounding soft tissue just below the knee. It occurs at the point where the shinbone attaches to the tendon of the kneecap.

The Knee

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Causes

Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by repeated tension or stress on the upper part of the shinbone during growth spurts.

Risk Factors

Osgood-Schlatter disease is more common in males and in children 10 to 18 years of age. :

Factors that may increase your risk of getting this condition include

  • Rapid growth spurts
  • Activities that stress the patellar tendon, such as jogging, jumping, and sudden turning
  • Being overweight
Symptoms

Osgood-Schatter disease may cause:

  • Pain, swelling, and/or tenderness just below the knee that usually worsens during physical activity
  • A swollen, painful bump just below the knee
Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, and physical activity. An examination of your knee will be done.

Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment

Osgood-Schlatter disease may go away when the bones and tendons have finished growing. The bump may be permanent.

Treatment may include:

Limited Exercise

The area will need time to heal:

  • Activities that place stress on the patellar tendon will need to be avoided until the swelling and pain go away.
  • A strap, brace, or elastic bandage may need to be used to stabilize and support the area as it heals.
  • You may be referred to a physical therapist to strengthen the affected muscles.
Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may be needed to strengthen the affected muscles.

Pain Relief

Pain and swelling may be relieved with:

  • Ice compresses during a flare-up or after exercise
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen
  • A local injection of cortisone in severe cases

Note : Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.

Surgery

If the patellar tendon has pulled away from the shinbone, surgery may be needed to repair the tendon and remove fragments of bone. In most cases, surgery is not needed.

Prevention

To prevent the occurrence or recurrence of Osgood-Schlatter disease:

  • Encourage overweight children to lose weight.
  • Encourage children to get moderate exercise.
  • Ask your child's doctor for stretching and strengthening exercises for the shinbone/patellar tendon.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor— American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

References:

Atanda A, Shah S, O'Brien K. Osteochondrosis: common causes of pain in growing bones. Am Fam Physician. 2011 Feb 1;83(3):285-91.

Aronen JG and Garrick JG. Sports-induced inflammation in the lower extremities. Hosp Pract. 1999;34:51.

Ducher G, Cook J, Lammers G, Coombs P, Ptazsnik R, Black J, Bass SL. The ultrasound appearance of the patellar tendon attachment to the tibia in young athletes is conditional on gender and pubertal stage. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13(1):20-23.

Osgood-Schlatter disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 3, 2015. Accessed June 29, 2015.

Overuse injuries in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00613. Updated December 2012. Accessed June 29, 2015.

Pihlajamäki HK, Visuri TI. Long-term outcome after surgical treatment of unresolved Osgood-Schlatter disease in young men: surgical technique. J Bone Joint Surg A . 2010;92: Suppl 1 Pt 2:258-264.



Last reviewed June 2015 by Teresa Briedwell, DPT, OCS

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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