The bones of children and adolescents possess a special area where the bone is growing called the growth plate. Growth plates are areas of cartilage located near the ends of bones. When a child is fully grown, the growth plates harden into solid bone.

Some growth plates serve as attachment sites for tendons, the strong tissues that connect muscles to bones. A bony bump called the tibial tubercle covers the growth plate at the end of the tibia. The group of muscles in the front of the thigh (called the quadriceps) attaches to the patella (knee cap) which in-turn attaches to patellar tendon. This patellar tendon attaches to the tibial tubercle.

When a child is active, the quadriceps muscles pull on the patellar tendon which, in turn, pulls on the tibial tubercle. In some children, this repetitive traction on the tubercle leads to inflammation of the growth plate. The prominence, or bump, of the tibial tubercle may become very pronounced.

This swelling and irritation of the growth plate at the top of the shinbone is called as Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD).

OSD goes away when a child stops growing and usually doesn't cause lasting problems.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

OSD typically causes pain and swelling below the kneecap. The pain usually gets worse with running, jumping, going up stairs, and walking up hills. Severe pain may lead to limping. OSD can happen in one or both knees.

Who Gets Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

OSD usually happens in kids that are in their growth spurt (usually around 9–14 years old) and is active in sports or activities that involve a lot of running or jumping

OSD is an overuse injury. This means it happens when a child does the same movements over and over again.

How Is Osgood-Schlatter Disease Diagnosed?

To diagnose Osgood-Schlatter disease, your doctor will ask about physical activities and do an examination.

Usually, no testing is needed. Sometimes the doctor orders an X-ray to check for other knee problems.


How is Osgood-Schlatter disease treated?

Osgood-Schlatter disease usually goes away with time and rest. Sports activities that require running, jumping or other deep knee-bending should be limited until the tenderness and swelling subside. Kneepads can be used by athletes who participate in sports where the knee might make contact with the playing surface or other players. Some athletes find wearing a patellar tendon strap below the kneecap can help decrease the pull on the tibial tubercle. Ice packs after activity are helpful, and ice can be applied two to three times a day, 20 to 30 minutes at a time, if necessary. The appropriate time to return to sports will be based on the athlete’s pain tolerance. An athlete will not be “damaging” his or her knee by playing with some pain.

Your doctor may also recommend stretching exercises to increase flexibility in the front and back of the thigh (quadriceps and hamstring muscles). This can be achieved either through home exercises or formal physical therapy.

Medicines, can be used to help control pain. If your child needs multiple doses of medication daily and the pain affects their daily activities, there should be a discussion on resting from the sport.


Is surgery ever needed for Osgood-Schlatter disease?

In almost every case, surgery is not needed. This is because the cartilage growth plate eventually stops its growth and fills in with bone when the child stops growing. The bone is stronger than cartilage and less prone to irritation. The pain and swelling go away because there is no new growth plate to be injured. Pain linked to Osgood-Schlatter disease almost always ends when an adolescent stop growing.

In rare cases, the pain persists after the bones have stopped growing. Surgery is recommended only if there are bone fragments that did not heal. Surgery is never done on a growing athlete, since the growth plate can be damaged.

If pain and swelling persist despite treatment, the athlete should be re-examined by a doctor regularly. If the swelling continues to increase, the patient should be re-evaluated.

How Long Does Osgood-Schlatter Disease Last?

Osgood-Schlatter disease usually goes away when the bones stop growing. Typically, this is when a teen is between 14 and 18 years old.


Can Kids With Osgood-Schlatter Disease Still Do Sports?

Yes, kids with OSD can usually do their normal activities, including sports, as long as:

        The pain is not bad enough to interfere with the activity.

        The pain gets better within 1 day with rest.

What are the consiquences in later in the adult life, if one had this diseade in childhood?

Most symptoms will completely disappear when a child completes the adolescent growth spurt, around age 14 for girls and age 16 for boys. For this reason, surgery is rarely recommended. However, the prominence of the tubercle will persist.