Introduction to Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a painful enlargement of the bump of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee. This bump is called the tibial tuberosity. The tendon that attaches the kneecap to the shin bone attaches at the tibial tuberosity. Osgood-Schlatter disease is most often seen in children between the ages of 10 and 15 and usually appears during a period of rapid growth.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Causes of Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Sometimes it develops for no apparent reason. However, overuse of the quadriceps muscles is thought to be a common cause. The quadriceps muscle is used to straighten the knee. This muscle pulls on the kneecap (patella), which pulls on the patellar ligament, which is attached to the upper part of the shin bone (tibia).

Overuse of the quadriceps muscle can cause repeated strain on the attachment of the patellar ligament to the growing tibia. The tibia hasn’t finished growing and isn’t quite strong enough to withstand the strain on it. This can cause redness and soreness where the ligament attaches. In some cases, a small flake of bone is pulled off the tibia by the pulling ligament. Healing bone (callus) then forms which may cause a hard bony bump to develop.

For example young adolescents who participate in certain sports, including soccer, gymnastics, basketball, and distance running, are most at risk for this disease.

Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease

  • Pain, swelling and tenderness at the bony prominence on the upper shinbone, just below the kneecap
  • Knee pain that worsens with activity — especially running, jumping and climbing stairs — and improves with rest
  • Tightness of the surrounding muscles, especially the thigh muscles (quadriceps)

How is it Diagnosed?

Dr Kevin Yip will examine the knee and review your child’s symptoms. Your child may need an X-ray. X-rays show an enlarged tibial tuberosity. An X-ray may also show irregular or loose bony fragments from the tibial tuberosity.

Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter Disease

  • To rest or do activities that do not cause knee pain.
  • Ice packs should be put on the knee for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away.
  • To elevate by placing a pillow under it if the knee swollen.
  • Anti-inflmmatory medication may be prescribed.

Symptoms that worsen with activity may require rest for several months, followed by a conditioning program. In some patients, Osgood-Schlatter symptoms may last for 2 to 3 years. However, most symptoms will completely disappear with completion of the adolescent growth spurt, around age 14 for girls and age 16 for boys.

How can Osgood-Schlatter disease be prevented?

Osgood-Schlatter disease may be difficult to prevent. The most important thing to do is to have your child limit activity as soon as he or she notices the painful bump on the top of the shin bone. Proper warm-up and stretching exercises of the thigh, hamstring, and calf muscles may help prevent Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Looking for knee pain clinic?  Please contact us by calling (65) 64762106 or Schedule an Appointment here on our website. Our professional orthopedic specialist, Dr. Kevin Yip, has more than 20 years experience. Be assured that you will be receiving professional treatments that suit your needs. Consultations are covered by most insurance.

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