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Osgood-Schlatters Disease: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments

Outline: Osgood-Schlatters Disease is often found among young athletes, mainly boys and girls between 10-16 years of age. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Main Digest

What is Osgood-Schlatters Disease?

Discovered in 1903 by Dr. Robert Bayley Osgood and Dr. Carl Schlatter, Osgood-Schlatters Disease is often found among young athletes and children, mainly affecting boys and girls between 10-16 years of age. Pain, swelling, and inflammation are symptoms that typically characterize Osgood-Schlatters Disease.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease is claimed by some to not actually be a disease, but is rather a collection of symptoms that involves the tibial tubercle epiphysis. (An epiphysis is essentially a bone growth center).

Often times Osgood-Schlatters disease will subside when the individual stops growing, and the tendon becomes stronger.

The symptoms of Osgood-Schlatters will be more apparent during and after exercise.

What is the Cause of Osgood-Schlatters Disease?

Osgood-Schlatters disease occurs when the patellar tendon, (which attaches the quadriceps muscle at the front of the thigh and inserts on the tibial tuberosity) is overused.

The tibial tubercle is a small bump on the tibia (your shin bone) just below your knee.

Inflammation can occur when the patellar tendon tugs on the tibial tuberosity.

Osgood-Schlatters disease is also known as a tibial tubercle apophyseal traction injury.

When children and young athletes put a greater strain on their patellar tendon, they do so usually with sporting activities such as running and jumping.

Tests and Diagnosis

Upon visiting with the physician, your child will have a physical examination of their knee.

The physician will be looking for symptoms such as redness, pain, tenderness, or swelling in and around the knee joint.

They will also wish to check the ROM (range of motion) in your child's knee.

To more closely examine the point of insertion of the patellar tendon, x-rays may be used to get a clearer picture.

What Can An Athlete Do if They Have Osgood-Schlatters Disease?

Seek the advice your physician.

Prior to receiving any treatment, it is very important for an individual to make sure that Osgood Schlatters Disease is causing the pain. Your physician can confirm or dis-confirm this diagnosis.

Treatment is usually conservative; rest and simple pain reduction measures of ice packs can be of great assistance.

The use of a low profile drytex or neoprene knee brace (with or without a hinge) can also be supportive.

Two good examples would the DonJoy Comfort Knee Brace or the DonJoy drytex hinged knee brace. Typically, these knee braces can help keep the knee warm while also placing subtle pressure on the swollen area.

The light pressure seems to relieve pain by compressing the separating physis. A very expensive deluxe knee brace is probably not indicated for Osgood Schlatters.

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