Osgood-Schlatters is characterized pain,
tenderness, and swelling on the tibial tuberosity,
or on the shin bone just below the knee cap. The
pain may be mild after activity or in some cases can
be severe enough to occur during all activity. It
occurs in activities that require jumping, running,
squatting, or lifting. It is most common in athletic
children between ages of 10 to 14.
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Causes of Osgood-Schlatter
The patella tendon attaches to the tibial
tuberosity. The strong quadriceps muscle pulls on
this area to extend the lower leg during running,
jumping, or squatting. The tibial tuberosity has a
growth plate in this area.
Bone grows by forming a cartilage growth plates.
The cartilage growth plates are not as strong as
normal bone. The forces caused by repetitive running
and jumping pull the tendon, causing it to separate.
This produces inflammation, tenderness, and
swelling. This is very common during a child's
growth spurts, and does occur in both knees
simultaneously. In very rare situations, the bone
can be pulled apart.
Treatment of Osgood-Schlatters
Rest and ice are the first steps that should be
taken at home. Modifying or stopping activities for
a short period of time will allow the area to heal.
Stretching tight quadriceps or hamstring muscle will
help to decrease stress and irritation. Braces are
available to decrease the stress caused by the
pulling quadriceps muscle.
The bump on the tibia will continue after the
area has healed. The bone may look slightly
different than the other knee, but it will not
change knee function or cause future knee injuries.
If pain persists after rest and ice, seek a
provider to evaluate the Osgood-Schlatters. An X-Ray
may be performed to rule out the bone being pulled
away from the tibia. Your provider may recommend
crutches for a short period of time, until the pain
Osgood-Schlatter is common and usually resolves
without complications. Conservative home treatment
involving rest, ice, and modifying activities
provide excellent outcomes in short periods of time.
The most difficult part may be keeping active kids
from resuming full activity too soon.
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