Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease is an inflammation that occurs at the point where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia. It most commonly affects adolescents. One or both knees may be affected.

What You Need To Know About Osgood-Schlatter Disease

What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease — sometimes known as Osgood-Schlatter syndrome or simply as Schlatter disease — is a common injury in children that occurs from damage to the tibia's growth plate. Growth plates are the name given to sections of cartilage that appear near the tips of developing bones.

Growth plates are softer portions of cartilage that disappear when a person reaches maturity. While growth plates allow the bones and skeleton to grow and develop, they are also vulnerable to developing trauma or overuse injuries.

Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs when a growth plate injury occurs where their kneecap tendon connects to the shinbone. As mentioned, this area is more prone to injury because it is weaker than the adjacent bone structure. Although most common in children, it is not unheard of for adults to experience Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Find out more about Osgood-Schlatter disease by visiting Resurgens Orthopaedics today. Schedule an appointment now for a consultation near you.

What Causes Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter syndrome is usually caused by overuse injury of the growth plate. Activities like jumping or running can put excess pressure on the nearby structures. In the kneecap, the patellar tendon links the tibia and the tibial tubercle. The tibial tubercle is a small ridge on your tibia. Activities like jumping or running cause the tendon to overly tug on the tibial tubercle and damage its surrounding structures.

Young athletes who participate in sports like basketball, ballet, volleyball, or soccer are particularly vulnerable to developing Osgood-Schlatter disease. High levels of repetitive motion cause the area to feel tender when bumped. Even simple movements like kneeling can become burdensome.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Symptoms

People experiencing Osgood-Schlatter disease report a variety of symptoms. Experiencing pain or swelling immediately below the kneecap is one of the most common symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter syndrome. Often people report tightness in their tight muscles. It usually affects one knee, but it's not uncommon for both knees to show signs of Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Other symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease include:

  • Limping

  • Pain during certain activities

  • Tibial tubercle irritation or tenderness

  • Pain lasting weeks or months

Symptoms like knee locking, fever, or knee instability could be signs of bigger concerns. Contact a doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms.

How is Osgood-Schlatter Disease Diagnosed?

Getting an accurate Osgood-Schlatter syndrome diagnosis requires a thorough examination. Usually, a diagnosis starts with a physical exam. This portion of the exam may involve your doctor applying pressure to tender areas on the knee. The physician may also ask you to perform actions that cause your symptoms, such as bending or jumping. Be prepared as many people experience mild irritation during this portion of the exam.

Your doctor may use diagnostic imaging to fully visualize your condition and rule out any other related conditions. Your doctor can use the information from imaging scans to create a unique treatment plan for your needs.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Treatment

There are many treatment options for Osgood-Schlatter disease. Milder cases may benefit from RICE therapy and stretching. The responsible use of mild OTC medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen can help offset the pain.

Avoiding activities that trigger pain can help improve your healing. Some people will need to engage in strength conditioning or physical therapy programs after they have recovered. The use of braces or other protective gear can help improve healing times.

Generally, symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter syndrome disappear as a child completes their adolescent growth spurt. After a sufficient healing time, a Resurgens Physician will clear you for sports activity.

Getting expert help for pain starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. Schedule an appointment with one of our knee physicians now!

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