Although it can be tricky to pronounce, Osgood-Schlatter disease affects many young people throughout their lives. Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain in growing adolescents. It is an inflammation of the area just below the knee where the tendon from the kneecap attaches to the shinbone.
Osgood-Schlatter disease most often occurs during growth spurts, when bones, muscles, tendons, and other structures are changing rapidly. Because physical activity puts additional stress on bones and muscles, children who participate in athletics — especially running and jumping sports – are at an increased risk for this condition. However, less active adolescents may also experience this problem.
In most cases of Osgood-Schlatter disease, simple measures like rest, over-the-counter medication, and stretching and strengthening exercises will relieve pain and allow a return to daily activities.
So what is it?
Painful symptoms are often brought on by running, jumping, and other sports-related activities. Most often, it affects younger people who are very active and are still going through growing phases. In some cases, both knees have symptoms, although one knee may be worse than the other.
- Knee pain and tenderness at the tibial tubercle
- Swelling at the tibial tubercle
- Tight muscles in the front or back of the thigh
During the appointment, your doctor will discuss your child’s symptoms and general health. He or she will conduct a thorough examination of the knee to determine the cause of the pain. This will include applying pressure to the tibial tubercle, which should be tender or painful for a child with Osgood-Schlatter disease. In addition, your doctor may also ask your child to walk, run, jump, or kneel to see if the movements bring on painful symptoms. Your doctor may also order an x-ray image of your child’s knee to help confirm the diagnosis or rule out any other problems.
Your doctor may recommend additional treatment methods, including:
- Stretching exercises. Stretches for the front and back of the thigh (quadriceps and hamstring muscles) may help relieve pain and prevent the disease from returning.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling.
- Icing: Icing can help reduce the inflammation and pain immediately after exercise.
Most symptoms will completely disappear when a child completes the adolescent growth spurt, around age 14 for girls and age 16 for boys. For this reason, surgery is rarely recommended. However, the prominence of the tubercle will persist.
This article is not intended to diagnose or treat a patient. Please make an appointment with your doctor to diagnose and evaluate the best treatment option for you.
To make an appointment with us at Northwest Broward Orthopedics, call us at 954-979-3255. We are open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and are located in South Florida.
Article Source: (OrthoInfo, 2019)