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Common Conditions

Osgood-Schlatter Disease


Osgood-Schlatter Disease or also known as Jumper’s Knee is a common cause of knee pain in growing children and young teenagers. It is characterized by inflammation in the area just below the knee. This area is where the tendon from the kneecap attaches to the shinbone (tibia). The condition most often develops during growth spurts.

During the growth spurts of adolescence, certain muscles and tendons grow quickly and not always at the same rate. With physical activity, differences in the size and strength of the quadriceps muscle can put more stress on the growth plate near the top of the shinbone. The growth plate is weaker and more prone to injury than other parts of the bone. As a result, it can become irritated during physical stress and overuse. The irritation can result in a painful lump below the kneecap which is the main sign of Osgood-Schlatter disease. Osgood-Schlatter disease is typically diagnosed in adolescents during the beginning of their growth spurts. Growth spurts usually start between ages 8 and 13 for girls and between ages 10 and 15 for boys. Teenage athletes who play sports that involve jumping and running are more likely to develop the disease.

Common symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease include knee or leg pain, swelling, tenderness or increased warmth under the knee and over the shinbone, pain that gets worse with exercise or high-impact activities and limping after physical activity. The severity of these symptoms often varies from person to person. Some individuals experience only mild pain during certain activities. Others experience constant, debilitating pain that makes it difficult to do any physical activity. The discomfort can last from a few weeks to several years.

If your child is diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, a physical therapy program is recommended. Physical therapy is recommended for Osgood-Schlatter Disease. Treatment will include manual therapy, heat therapy, ice therapy and exercise program. Your therapist will create an active exercise program which may involve stretching and strengthening exercises for the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip and calf muscles to improve mobility. To overcome impaired balance and coordination, customized balance and coordination exercises will be recommended for the affected knee, hip and ankle. Kinesiology tape may also help with supporting the knee. If in doubt, seek professional advice.