Sports and Injuries in Teens - Osgood Schaltter

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 between the ages of 10 and 15, usually flares during periods of rapid growth and then goes away at the end of the child's growth spurt.

This injury is commonly seen in volleyball, basketball, track, soccer and field hockey athletes. It is brought on by banging the knees – a direct injury and overuse of tendon. Seen in girls earlier than boys because girls go through puberty earlier. Frequently seen in girls around 11-12 and boys 13-14.

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 tibial tubercle. Teens usually start feeling pain and then a bump below the knee comes up after about 1-2 months of pain/discomfort. The bump hurts because the place where the tendon attaches to the tibia is inflamed.

The condition does not require any specific medical treatment. Most children outgrow the problem within two years. To lessen symptoms the teen first needs to reduce the jumping. S/he can also ice the area after playing, and take Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. All activity does not need to stop, but reducing the activity for 6-18 months might be required. The athlete can actually play with the pain – unlike many other injuries.

There is no quick cure. Sometimes (rarely) surgery is required to trim the bone and reattach the tendon, but that will shut down an athlete for a long time.

There are things you can do to prevent this like wearing knee pads in volleyball and basketball – to protect the knee if you hit it on the court.

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