Osgood-Schlatter Disease: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

by Craig W. Goodhart, MD 23. November 2015 13:16

Osgood-Schlatter Disease involves inflammation of the lower front of knee, where the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone. The medical condition often occurs during growth spurts when the bones, tendons, cartilages are developing rapidly. People who participate in activities that involve a lot of running, jumping and swift changes in direction are more susceptible suffering from this condition. Boys have more probability of being affected by Osgood-Schlatter Disease as they actively participate in sports.

Causes:

Quadriceps muscle is used in contraction and relaxation of the knee muscles. Overusing these muscles puts strain on the patellar ligament which is attached to the shin bone. This results in pulling of the tibia (shin bone) and formation of a bony bump, leading to Osgood-Schlatter Disease. It may also be caused by trauma or injury to the knee.

Symptoms:

  • Knee pain
  • Tenderness
  • Tight muscles in the front or back of the thigh
  • Swelling

Diagnosis:

An orthopedic doctor may physically examine the knee for the symptoms and inquire the patient about his medical history. He may apply pressure to the tibial tubercle and check for tenderness. He may also ask the patient to move the knee to see if it causes pain. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI or CT scan may be conducted to determine severity of the knee injury. Ultrasound may also need to be conducted in some conditions.

Treatment:

  • Medication: An orthopedic doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Rest: Rest should be provided to the affected area to speed up the healing process. Avoiding strenuous activities such as running, jumping etc. may be suggested by the doctor.
  • Exercise: Exercises, as recommended by a physical therapist, may improve flexibility and strength of quadriceps as well as hamstring muscles.
  • Supportive devices: Wearing a cast or brace may be advised by the physician to provide support to the knee and reduce discomfort.
  • Ice pack: Ice pack can be applied below the kneecap to reduce pain and swelling. Heat therapy may also be beneficial in providing relaxation to the stiff muscles.

Surgery may be needed if there is no improvement from non-surgical methods.

Prevention:

  • Stretching exercises should be done before performing any strenuous activity in order to avoid stressing the joint.
  • Wearing protective equipment, such as knee pads, while playing football, basketball, baseball etc. can prevent injury.

For treatment of Osgood-Schlatter Disease and other knee conditions, visit Dr. Goodhart in Carrollton, TX. To schedule an appointment with the orthopedic sports surgeon, you can call at (972) 492 – 1334.

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