The Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain among adolescents. The pain is experienced in the front of the knee, just below the kneecap. The condition involves inflammation of a growth plate of the shin bone or tibia.
The bones of growing adolescents have growth plates. These are areas of cartilage located near the ends of bones. When full growth is achieved, the growth plates turn into solid bone. Some growth plates also serve as attachment sites for tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones.
At the end of the tibia, there is a bony bump called the tibial tubercle, which covers the growth plate. The quadriceps (muscles in the front of the thigh) attach to the tibial tubercle.
When the child is active, the quadriceps muscles pull on the patellar tendon, which in turn, pulls on the tibial tubercle. In some children, this leads to inflammation of the growth plate. The tibial tubercle may become very noticeable as a bump.
Causes and Symptoms
Osgood-Schlatter disease typically occurs during growth spurts. Since physical activity causes additional stress on bones and muscles, children who engage in strenuous activity are at an increased risk for this condition.
Symptoms for Osgood-Schlatter disease include –
- pain caused on jumping or running
- knee pain and tenderness
- tight thigh muscles
Osgood-Schlatter disease Treatment
In most cases the condition improves with –
- limiting activity
- over-the-counter medication
- stretching and strengthening exercises
- symptoms typically go away when the individual completes the adolescent growth spurt, around 14 years in case of girls and 16 years for boys.