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What is Osgood Schlatter Disease?

Niki Acker
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Osgood Schlatter disease is an inflammation of the growth plate at the tibial tuberosity, which is an area on the front of the shin bone just below the knee, attached to the quadriceps muscle by the patellar ligament. The disease is caused by stress on the patellar ligament and is most common in active children aged 11 to 15. Osgood Schlatter disease causes excessive bone growth at the tibial tuberosity, producing a visible lump, pain, and swelling. It is named after two surgeons who independently discovered the condition in 1903, Robert Bayley Osgood in America and Carl Schlatter in Switzerland.

Frequent contraction of the quadriceps muscle can place stress on the patellar ligament and immature tibial tuberosity, resulting in inflammation and small tears. Once the tibia is fully grown, there is no risk of Osgood Schlatter disease. The condition is usually simple to treat, but it can recur until the bone has reached maturity. Boys are at greater risk for Osgood Schlatter disease, which usually affects them around age 13 or 14. Girls are most at risk between the ages of 11 and 12.

This disease is treated with rest and pain reduction. Ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are typically all that is necessary. Joint immobilization and surgery are rarely used measures reserved for extreme cases. However, Osgood Schlatter disease can take a while to heal. On average, children with the condition must cease athletic activities for three months and return to them gradually, with resumption of full athletic activities by seven months.

Osgood Schlatter disease can be partially prevented with stretching exercises and attention to exercise routines, making sure that they do not place excessive stress on the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Supporting the knee with a pad or strap during athletic activities and training is also helpful. These measures are especially important for children that have already contracted Osgood Schlatter disease.

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Niki Acker
By Niki Acker , Writer
"In addition to her role as a WiseGEEK editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "

Discussion Comments

By anon149848 — On Feb 05, 2011

Someone in my family has recently been diagnosed with this disease. He is still young (around 12) and is extremely athletic. Athleticism takes up a huge portion of his life i was wondering if you had any suggestions that would maybe allow him to heal faster so he can resume.

Niki Acker

Niki Acker

Writer

"In addition to her role as a WiseGEEK editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of...
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