What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?
Osgood-Schlatter disease refers to an overuse injury that occurs in the knee of growing children and adolescents. This is caused by inflammation of the tendon located below the kneecap (patellar tendon). Children and adolescents who participate in sports such as soccer, gymnastics, basketball, and distance running are at a higher risk of this disease.
Causes of Osgood-Schlatter Disease
Outdoor sports activities that involve a lot of running and jumping may induce stress on the thigh muscles, which in turn pull the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap to the tibia. Repeated stress can cause the tendon to move away from the tibia, causing pain and swelling of the affected knee. In some cases, your body may try to close the gap with new bone growth, which results in a bony lump in that region.
Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease
The main symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease include:
- Knee pain
- Tenderness below the kneecap area
Diagnosis of Osgood-Schlatter Disease
The diagnosis of Osgood-Schlatter disease includes the review of your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination will be performed where your doctor will examine your child’s knee for pain, swelling, and inflammation. An X-ray or MRI scan may be ordered to examine the bones of the knee and affected tendons and tibia.
Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter Disease
The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and swelling. Treatment includes 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 relieve completely after your child’s growth spurt, which is a period of rapid growth rate.