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Osgood-Schlatter Disease


Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that causes pain in the knee and top of the shin when the tendon pulls on the top of the shin. This condition, sometimes called jumper’s knee, usually occurs during adolescence. At home, it is treated with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers.

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What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that occurs when the tendon in the knee (patellar tendon) pulls on the top of the tibia. This causes pain in the knees and upper shins. During the rapid growth of puberty, certain muscles and tendons grow rapidly, but not always at the same rate. During physical activity, differences in the size and strength of the quadriceps can put more stress on the growth plate near the top of the tibia. As a result, irritation may occur during exercise or overuse. Irritation can lead to a painful lump under the kneecap, which is the main symptom of Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Tendons are tissue bands that attach muscles to bones. The growth plate is a region of the shinbone where new bone is growing when the patellar tendon pulls on it. Pulling causes pain and inflammation. As the growth plate solidifies, a firm bump may also appear directly below the knee. With relaxation, over-the-counter pain relievers, and patience, children with Osgood-Schlatter disease typically recover. Growing pains or jumper’s knees are other names for Osgood-Schlatter disease.

The Prevalence of Osgood-Schlatter Illness

Osgood-Schlatter disease affects a lot of people. Children and teens are the ones that most frequently have knee discomfort from this condition.

Who is Afflicted with Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

The growth spurt-related condition Osgood-Schlatter disease affects kids and teenagers. This normally happens between the ages of 11 and 14. These teenagers are more likely to have this problem since it is frequently linked to a move or activity because they:

  • Participate in activities that demand you to leap or stoop.
  • Own a tight quad.

What is the Patellar Tendon?

The patellar tendon is a band of connective tissue in the knee. This tendon holds the patella and tibia together. It begins just below the kneecap and extends to the portion of the tibia (growth plate) where new bone is growing. This joint can cause pain when your child is experiencing rapid growth.

How does Osgood-Schlatter Disease Develop?

Children and adolescents develop Osgood-Schlatter disease after playing sports that repeatedly stress the patellar tendon. Certain activities, such as running and jumping, cause the leg muscles to pull on the patellar tendon, pulling on the growth plate. Sometimes called growing pains, Osgood-Schlatter disease often occurs during childhood. During rapid growth, bones, muscles, and tendons move and grow. These ups and downs can put more pressure on the patellar tendon and growth plate.

Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

The following are the primary signs of Osgood-Schlatter disease:

  • The area below the kneecap hurts.

The pain usually develops gradually over time, but it can also occur suddenly. Pain in one knee can be worse than the other and is often worse when running, jumping, or climbing. A hard, painful bump may also appear on the front of the knee below the kneecap. This bump is new bone growing where the tendon pulls on the growth plate. The pain goes away, but the bump may remain even after the child has grown.

How is Osgood-Schlatter Disease Detected?

Doctors usually diagnose Osgood-Schlatter disease based on symptoms and tests. Doctors consider:

  • The patient’s age.
  • What sports or activities could be to blame for the ailment?

In order to examine the kneecap and rule out other diseases like a fracture, your doctor could also order X-rays.

How can I Determine Whether or Not My Child has Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

If your teen has pain just below the kneecap, it could be Osgood-Schlatter disease. Playing sports that involve jumping or bending your knees increases your risk of developing this condition. A hard bump in front of the knee above the shin is a sign of Osgood-Schlatter disease.

What is the Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter Disease? 

Osgood-Schlatter sickness commonly goes away with time and rest. Running, jumping, or other activities that require deep squats should be restricted until tenderness and swelling subside. Knee pads can be used by athletes who participate in sports where their knees may touch the playing surface or other players. Some athletes find that wearing a patellar tendon strap under the kneecap helps reduce strain on the tibial tubercle. In most cases, Osgood-Schlatter disease can be treated at home with a combination of rest, cooling, and over-the-counter Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, our doctors may recommend stopping the sport or activity that is causing your child’s pain. Many children find pain relief by stretching the quadriceps (thigh muscle) to relieve tension in the patellar tendon. Some doctors also recommend using a brace called the patellar tendon ligament. This thin strap fits around the knee below the kneecap. It can provide some relief to the patellar tendon.

What are the Side Effects of Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

NSAIDs have side effects. These are rare and usually only affect people who have taken the drug for a long time.

  1. Pain in the stomach.
  2. Stomach ulcers.
  3. High blood pressure.

What are the Problems Linked with Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

The Osgood-Schlatter disease rarely causes complications. If the pain is severe, our doctors may recommend cortisone injections to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Rarely, will the pain last and is worsened by kneeling. Surgery for Osgood-Schlatter disease is very rare, but if there is persistent and debilitating pain, doctors can surgically remove the bone that forms under the kneecap.

How can I Relieve the Symptoms of this Disease from My Child?

To reduce the pain associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease, you can try the following:

Rest: Avoid jumping, running, activities, and sports that require you to bend over.

Ice: Apply a cold compress to your knee to reduce swelling and relieve sensitivity and pain.

Medications: Over-the-counter Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief as directed by your doctor.

Stretching: Stretch your quadriceps (thigh muscles) regularly to keep them flexible. Osgood-Schlatter disease discomfort could get worse if the quadriceps are tight.

Participate in physical therapy: Our doctor may recommend physical therapy to help relieve the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease. A physical therapist will offer you specific exercises during a treatment session.

How can I Prevent Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease cannot be prevented; however, there are certain things you may do to lower your child’s chance of getting it:

  • Have your child play sports that don’t strain the knees.
  • Have your child stop playing sports or activities when knee pain occurs.
  • Have your child stretch the quadriceps and hamstrings to increase flexibility and reduce pressure on the patellar tendon.
  • Have your child use supportive sporting shoes with enough impact resistance.

Does Osgood-Schlatter Disease Require Surgery?

In most cases, no surgery is required. This is because when the child stops growing, the cartilage growth plate eventually stops growing and fills with bone. Bone is stronger and less susceptible to irritation than cartilage. Pain and swelling are eliminated as the new growth plate cannot be damaged. The pain associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease most often ends when puberty occurs and the child stops growing. Pain rarely continues after bone growth has stopped.

Surgery is recommended only if the bone fragment has not healed. Surgery is not performed on growing athletes because the growth plate can be damaged.  If pain and swelling persist despite treatment, you should see our specialists. If swelling continues to increase, the patient should be re-examined.

How Long Does Osgood-Schlatter Disease Last?

Osgood-Schlatter disease usually resolves when bone growth stops. Usually, this is the case when the teenager is between 14 and 18 years old.

Can children with this Disease (OSD) Still Play Sports?

Yes, children with OSD are usually able to engage in normal activities, including sports.

  • There isn’t enough pain to prevent you from doing anything.
  • The pain gets better within a day with rest.

It can be helpful for children athletes to:

  • Use shock-absorbing insoles in their footwear and sneakers.
  • Place a heating pad or warm washcloth on the child’s lap for 15 minutes before exercising.
  • Place ice on the child’s lap for 15 minutes after the activity.
  • When playing volleyball, basketball, or boxing, the child should use safety gloves.
  • The child should stretch before and after exercise.

What is the Outlook for Patients with Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Most adolescents with Osgood-Schlatter disease recover without lasting health effects. As children grow older they experience OSD less and less. Bone growths may remain on the knee until adulthood. It is usually painless.

When Should I Contact my Physician?

Talk to your doctor if your child has knee pain, especially after running or exercising. It is important for one of our doctors to examine the child so the doctor can rule out other conditions that may be causing the pain and swelling.  Call today for an appointment.

Call 214-556-0590 to make an appointment.

Comprehensive services for children from birth through adolescence at four convenient locations: Arlington, Dallas, Frisco and McKinney.