Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is a type of osteochondrosis that causes knee pain in children and adolescents, typically between the ages of 10 and 15. It results from an inflammation of the tibial tuberosity, the bony bump below the kneecap (patella). The condition primarily affects adolescents experiencing a growth spurt and active in running and jumping sports.
The primary cause of Osgood-Schlatter disease is the repeated traction and stress that the patellar tendon places on the growth plate at the tibial tuberosity during growth spurts. This tension increases significantly when the quadriceps muscles contract during running or jumping. The risk factors for developing OSD include:
OSD causes pain and tenderness at the tibial tuberosity below the kneecap. Other typical symptoms also include:
Like other osteochondrosis conditions, a thorough assessment and a complete patient history are vital in diagnosing OSD. In some cases, we or your medical professional may refer your child for diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, to visualise the structure of the knee.
The goal of Osgood-Schlatter disease treatment for OSD is to alleviate pain and inflammation and allow the growth plate to heal. Treatment options include:
Osgood-Schlatter disease typically recovers fully once the growth plate fuses at an older age. This can take 6 to 24 months, depending on the age of onset. Often, the noticeable bony bump remains, but this generally does not cause long-term problems. If the bony bump is too prominent, your child may experience discomfort when kneeling.
It may not be possible to prevent OSD completely, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk:
There is generally no long-term implication for OSD. However, suppose a large bony bump remains after the condition recovers. In that case, pressure on the bony bump may cause discomfort.
Yes, it is safe, provided your child is not in pain. Exercise and physical activity are vital in the body development of a growing child. Hence, we recommend seeking help for OSD early to allow your child to continue exercising with minimal discomfort.
Podiatrists can recommend specific exercises to help strengthen the knee and prescribe medical devices such as custom orthotics to help reduce the stress on the knee joint. The main goal is to allow your child to continue normal activities as part of their normal development.