Knee Pain (Osgood-Schlatter disease) 

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain in growing children and adolescents. It is an inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap (patellar tendon) to the shin bone (tibia), at a spot called the tibial tuberosity. It occurs most frequently in active children, particularly those who play sports involving running or jumping.  

During development, an area called the growth plate (epiphyseal plate) is responsible for the growth of bones. Growth plates are made of cartilage and are located at the ends of bones. When the bone reaches maturity, the growth plate closes and is replaced with solid bone. In the tibia, this occurs at approximately 15 years of age. This means that, until then, the tibia is not as strong and susceptible to stress.  

Osgood-Schlatter disease affects the growth plate under the kneecap at the tibial tuberosity where the quadriceps muscle tendon from the front of the thigh attaches. During an activity, the quadriceps muscle pulls on the patellar tendon, which in turn pulls on the tibial tuberosity. Repetitive motions such as running and jumping stresses the area, causing pain and inflammation. Usually, only one knee is affected, but in some cases, both knees may be symptomatic.

Osgood-Schlatter disease

Knee Pain

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Knee pain at the tibial tuberosity 
  • Swelling
  • Tight thigh muscles

Latest Research Links: 

Pathophysiology of Osgood-Schlatter Disease: Does Vitamin D have a Role? 

Bony Maturity of the Tibial Tuberosity With Regard to Age and Sex and Its Relationship to Pathogenesis of Osgood-Schlatter Disease: An Ultrasonographic Study 

Kardem Kiter

Article by Kardem Kiter, specialist podiatrist at Family Podiatry Centre

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