Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is not actually a disease but a condition causing swelling and pain at the front of the knee in adolescence, affecting 10% of the population. Studies show that is has a higher prevalence among those who are very active and occurs most commonly in boys aged 12-15 years, and girls aged 8-12.
OSD is likely caused by high repeated tensional forces of the patellar tendon on its attachment at the tibia tubercle when the growth plate is not yet closed. This causes a traction over the tubercle leading to microvascular tears and inflammation, which then presents as swelling, pain and tenderness. Symptoms can present bilaterally (in both limbs) in 20% to 30% of patients.
Risk factors for the disorder are:
• Ages: Male 12-15, Girls 8-12 (more common in males)
• Sudden skeletal growth spurts.
• Repetitive impact activities eg running, jumping, and landing
• Your local health professional will be able to correctly assess and provide symptom management to prevent long term issues and continue exercise.
• The pain usually subsides with the cessation of growth at the tibial tubercle
• Exercises can assist with OSD.
• You don’t have to stop your sport; you will need to learn activity modification to balance load and healing.
If you believe these signs and or symptoms sound familiar to what your child may be experiencing contact your health professional as early assessment and mangement is key to preventing significant issues and pain.