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What is Osgood Schlatter’s disease?

Osgood Schlatter’s is a condition associated with inflammation of the apophysis of the tibial tubercle. This means that a portion of the growth plate of the shin bone has become irritated. Osgood-Schlatter’s most commonly occurs in active, early-teen children.

Most patients with Osgood Schlatter’s complain of knee pain. In general, the knee pain is made worse with increased activities, especially running, jumping, or climbing stairs. The pain often improves with a period of rest.

What causes Osgood Schlatter’s?

The exact cause of Osgood Schlatter’s is not completely understood. It is thought to be associated with an overuse type injury, in which repetitive stress from the patellar tendon causes a portion of the growth plate to pull away from the shin bone. In medical terms, this is described as cyclic, micro-avulsion type fractures to the tibial tubercle apophysis.

Is this a problem?

Usually not. The pain can be severe and limit a child’s ability to participate in running and jumping activities but it does not usually cause long-term damage.Osgood Schlatter’s is thought to resolve completely when children are done growing. In general, patients do not have any long-term limitations associated with this as adults. As tolerated, children may continue to participate in all activities.

What are the treatment options?

In general, the goals for treatment include reducing the localized areas of inflammation. We recommend that patients utilize Ibuprofen every six to eight hours as needed. Following work-outs and increased activities, it may be helpful to apply ice over the affected areas. Also, for more severe symptoms, it may be helpful to refrain from sports for a few weeks to help reduce the inflammation.

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