About This Condition
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a form of osteochondrosis, a disease of the growth center at the end of long bones. The disease occurs in adolescence, most commonly among 10- to 15-year-old boys, and is often the result of rapid growth combined with competitive sports that overstress the knee joint. The patellar tendon, which attaches the kneecap to the tibia, is sometimes strained and partially torn from the bone by the powerful quadriceps muscles. This tearing, called avulsion, may be extremely painful and is sometimes disabling. It may occur in one or both knees. The knee is usually tender to pressure at the point where the large tendon from the kneecap attaches to the prominence below.
People with Osgood-Schlatter disease experience tenderness, swelling, and pain just below one knee that usually worsens with activity, such as going up or down stairs, and is relieved by rest. Symptoms may also include the appearance of a bony bump below the knee cap that is especially painful when pressed.
In most cases, symptoms disappear without treatment when a child’s growth is completed. Healthcare providers may recommend applying ice to the knee when pain first appears in order to help relieve inflammation. Participation in sports and excessive exercise might be limited. Severe cases might require immobilization of the leg in a cast or surgical treatment.