Osgood–Schlatter Disease

Inflammation of the front of the tibia (shinbone) below the knee

  • Most common between the ages of 10 and 14
  • Much more common in boys
  • Strenuous activity aggravates the symptoms
  • Genetics is not a significant factor

In Osgood–Schlatter disease, fragments of cartilage become loose at the front of the tibia (shinbone) just below the knee at the point where a large tendon is attached. The condition is caused by repetitive strong pulls on the tendon that attaches the muscle at the front of the thigh to the tibia. The symptoms include tenderness, swelling, and pain in the affected area and appear slowly over several weeks or months. Physical exercise tends to make the symptoms worse. Osgood–Schlatter disease is most common in boys aged 10–14 who take regular strenuous exercise. The disease usually occurs in only one leg, but in about 1 in 5 cases both legs are affected.

If your doctor suspects that your child has Osgood–Schlatter disease, he or she may arrange for X-rays of the affected area to confirm the diagnosis. In most cases, no treatment is required apart from rest and painkillers to ease the discomfort. In rare cases, if the condition persists, the affected knee may be immobilized in a cast for 6–8 weeks. Treatment is usually successful, and the disorder rarely recurs. Severely affected children may be advised to avoid strenuous exercise until they are over the age of 14 and the musculoskeletal system has matured.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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