Osgood Schlatter Disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Osgood schlatter disease is a condition that is the most common cause of knee pain in children between the age of 10 to 15 years.

Pain is located in the front of the knee at the place where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia bone called the tibial tuberosity. It can be felt as you gently slide your fingers down from the patella, the first bony prominence you feel is the tibial tuberosity.

Symptoms of this condition include the following

  • pain over the tibial tuberosity that is brought on by activities that involve jumping or running
  • pain is relieved by rest or by stopping the activity that brings it on
  • swelling can be seen over the tibial tuberosity
  • pressure applied over the tibial tuberosity with a finger or thumb elicits pain

Osgood schlatter disease occurs because during the age of 9 to 15 years the tibial tuberosity is cartilaginous. This cartilaginous tuberosity is weaker than bone and is unable to withstand the stress of running and jumping.Micro fractures occur in the tuberosity due to the strong pull of the patellar tendon and these cause the pain.

x ray of osgood schlatter disease

Diagnosis is by the clinical findings of history and examination. X ray is not required for the diagnosis. If a x ray is taken then it will show a longer tibial tuberosity along with fragmentation, as shown by the red arrow in this x ray.

Treatment is by

  • rest and avoiding activities that include jumping and running
  • pain killers may be used
  • plaster may be applied if the pain persists, but rarely is it required

At times the prominence of the tibial tuberosity may remain along with a small piece of bone separate from it. This may cause pain on kneeling in adult life. If this pain is bothersome then it can cured by removal of the bone piece by surgery. This is the only complication of this disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take for the pain to go?

Pain will take 8 to 12 months to go completely.

Can any deformity develop?

No abnormal growth or deformity occurs.

Should all sporting activities be stopped?

No, sporting activities need not be stopped, but healing will take longer if they are continued.

I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.

This page was created on 15th December 2010.

Other causes of knee pain include...

Knee Fracture

Patella Fracture

Tibial Plateau Fracture

Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee Bursitis

Meniscal Injury

Ligament Injury

Knee Anatomy

Knee Replacement Surgery

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