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Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Dr. Renny Uppal, MD

What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease (also called “Jumper’s Knee”) is a common condition affecting girls around 10-12 years old and boys around 13-15 years old (but these ages vary). Osgood-Schlatter results from excessive traction on the soft growth plate at the front of the shin bone below the knee cap. This is the area where the large tendon connects the knee cap and thigh muscle to the shin bone.

What causes Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

This condition usually occurs in association with high levels of activity during a period of rapid growth. Activities that involve a great deal of running, jumping, starting and stopping usually aggravate the condition.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Symptoms

Symptoms range from aching and soreness, to swelling, limping and giving way. Physical examination usually finds tenderness directly over the area of inflammation. X-rays are usually normal or may show some widening of the growth center at the front of the shin bone.

Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Treatment is focused on decreasing soreness as the condition is usually self-limiting (once the growth pate closes the symptoms will go away). However in some individuals, the symptoms may come and go throughout their growing years. Children with mild symptoms may wish to continue with some or all of their activities, while others may need to decrease activity levels for a short period of time. If a child prefers to cease activity because of pain, that decision should be supported by the parents.

Treatment includes rest, icing the affected area, and stretching the muscles on the front and back of the leg. Occasionally physical therapy may be suggested to help the child get started with the appropriate stretches and exercises.

In general, activities that cause pain should be avoided or decreased. “Active” rest is a term used to describe continued activity on a limited basis. If a child is comfortable remaining active, or has soreness after activity that goes away with stretching and icing (or overnight), it is usually OK to continue with that amount of activity. However, if a child has increasing pain, pain that begins to affect play or activities, or other unusual symptoms (i.e. limping, swelling, inability to run or jump normally), then cutting back on the activity level is important.

Home treatments include:

  • Icing the affected area 20 minutes at a time, as often as needed, but especially right after exercise.
  • Stretching the muscles on the front and back of the leg after exercise and before icing.
  • Activity modifications – less running, jumping more biking and swimming.
  • ‘Tylenol’ or ‘Advil’ type medicine may be used occasionally for soreness, but should not be used to allow a child to compete.

Your sports medicine orthopedic surgeons at the Reno Orthopedic Center have extensive experience in taking care of children with sports related knee pain. As our patient, you can be assured of the best possible treatment.