Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is an overuse injury or traction phenomenon resulting from repetitive quadriceps contraction through the patellar tendon at its insertion upon the skeletally immature tibial tubercle. It is one of the most common causes of knee pain in young athletes. It occurs in the knee area of growing adolescents due to their tibial tubercle susceptibility to the strain. It is characterized by inflammation of the tendon below the kneecap (patellar tendon) where it attaches to the shinbone (tibia). OSD causes swelling, pain and tenderness just below the knee, over the shinbone. The pain associated will be localized to the tibial tubercle and occasionally the patellar tendon itself. Adolescents who participate in certain sports, including soccer, gymnastics, basketball and distance running, are most at risk for this 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, such as running
- 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. The symptoms typically go away once the growth spurt of adolescence is finished.