Osgood-Schlatter Disease / OSD / apophysitis of the tibial tubercle
Osgood-Schlatter disease involves uncontrolled growth of the tibial tuberosity. This is the lump on the front of the shin bone, just below the knee. You could think of Osgood-Schlatter disease as an over-exertion injury of the knee during growth.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is particularly common in boys between the ages of 10 and 16, when they are experiencing a growth spurt and playing sports. It is slightly less common in girls and in this case presents between the ages of 8 to 12.
Description of condition
The attachment of the patellar tendon to the lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed. This causes pain at the attachment site of the patellar tendon to the tibial tuberosity.
This is the hard lump located directly below the knee on the front of the leg. After several months, this is often accompanied by the formation of excess bone tissue at this site.
Cause and history
The pain symptoms may occur suddenly or develop gradually and often vary in degree over time. The pain is caused by continuous tension from the patellar tendon on the developing tibial tuberosity.
Signs & symptoms
A visible lump develops below the knee, which is sensitive and warm to the touch. Symptoms occur mainly during and after sports that involve a lot of running, jumping or kneeling. This exerts strong forces on the patellar tendon. The lump is painful when you press it. Fluid may sometimes accumulate.
The diagnosis is made by the orthopedic surgeon or the physiotherapist. X-ray examination can support the diagnosis, but does not provide 100 % certainty.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is difficult to treat. The symptoms are associated with growth and will - in many cases - only disappear altogether once the child has stopped growing.
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Nugteren, K. van & Winkel, D. (2010). Onderzoek en behandeling van anterieure kniepijn. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.
Verhaar, J.A.N. & Linden, A.J. van der (2005). Orthopedie. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.