Osgood-Schlatter disease (also called Schlatter's disease or
osteochondrosis of the tibial tubercle) is inflammation in the top of the
shinbone (tibia) where the patellar tendon attaches to a bony mound in the knee
called the tibial tubercle. This disease, a common cause of knee pain in
children ages 10 to 15, usually flares during periods of rapid
growth and then goes away at the end of the child's growth spurt.
Signs and symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease include pain and
tenderness in front of the knee and mild swelling or a bump below the kneecap
at the top of the shin. This disease usually affects only one knee, though
occasionally it affects both knees. Symptoms get worse with exercise or
activity, such as jumping, that stretches the tendon and puts traction on the
The condition does not require any specific medical treatment. Most
children outgrow the problem in 1 or 2 years.
Home treatment for Osgood-Schlatter disease focuses on preventing
symptoms and using first aid to reduce pain when symptoms occur. Rest,
decreased activity, and other measures may reduce pain until the bone and
muscles mature. Surgery is rarely recommended.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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