Osgood-Schlatter Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Posted on August 21st, 2023 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Understanding Osgood-Schlatter Disease

As a parent or guardian, witnessing your child’s growth and development is a joyous experience. However, it’s not uncommon for children to face certain challenges during their growth spurts. One such challenge is Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition that affects the knees of active adolescents. 

At Orthopaedic Specialty Group, we believe that understanding this condition is essential for parents, coaches, and young athletes. In this blog, we’ll explore Osgood-Schlatter disease, including its causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options.

Defining Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease, also known as OSD, is a common condition that primarily affects growing adolescents, especially those who are physically active. It is characterized by pain, tenderness, and swelling just below the knee, where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia (shinbone). OSD typically occurs during periods of rapid bone growth, often between the ages of 10 and 15, and is more prevalent in boys than girls.

Causes and Risk Factors of Osgood-Schlatter Disease

The primary cause of Osgood-Schlatter disease is repetitive stress on the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. This stress can result from activities that involve running, jumping, and sudden changes in direction, such as those commonly seen in sports like basketball, soccer, and gymnastics. During growth spurts, bones, muscles, and tendons may grow at different rates, leading to increased tension on the patellar tendon attachment and causing pain and inflammation.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Parents, coaches, and young athletes should be attentive to the following symptoms, which are indicative of Osgood-Schlatter disease:

  • Knee Pain: Pain, tenderness, and swelling just below the kneecap are the most prominent symptoms. The pain can range from mild discomfort to more severe pain during physical activities.
  • Worsening with Activity: Pain worsens during activities that involve bending the knee, running, jumping, and climbing stairs.
  • Tightness and Stiffness: Some individuals may experience tightness and stiffness in the quadriceps muscles above the knee.
  • Visible Bump: A bony bump may develop at the site of the patellar tendon attachment, making it more noticeable during growth spurts.

Treatment and Management of Osgood-Schlatter Disease

The good news is that Osgood-Schlatter disease is a self-limiting condition that usually resolves once the adolescent’s bones stop growing. In the meantime, several strategies can help manage pain and discomfort:

  • Rest and Modify Activities: Reducing or modifying activities that exacerbate pain can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Ice and Pain Relief: Applying ice to the affected area and using over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage pain and inflammation.
  • Stretching and Strengthening: Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises for the quadriceps and hamstrings can help improve muscle balance and reduce tension on the patellar tendon.
  • Supportive Measures: Wearing a knee brace or using patellar straps can help support the patellar tendon and reduce stress during physical activities.
  • Medical Evaluation: If symptoms persist or worsen, consulting an orthopaedic specialist is recommended for a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment plan.

For exceptional orthopaedic care, contact Orthopaedic Specialty Group in Connecticut!

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you struggle with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty Group a call at (203) 337-2600, and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.