Osgood Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is a condition affecting adolescents in which there is partial separation of bone fragments from the tibial tuberosity at the site of insertion of the patellar ligament to the tibial tuberosity. OSD is one of the most common orthopedic conditions that adolescent athletes will encounter. Adolescent athletes with OSD typically present with pain, swelling, and tenderness over the tibial tuberosity that worsens with athletic activity. OSD presents in growing children (boys, 12-15 years; girls, 8-12 years).

Symptoms are exacerbated with sporting activities that involve jumping, (basketball, volleyball) running and/or on direct contact (e.g. kneeling). OSD usually occurs in just one knee, but sometimes it can develop in both. Knee radiographs can be taken to help establish an OSD diagnosis.

About 90% of patients respond well to non-operative treatment that includes rest, icing, activity modification and rehabilitation exercises. The overall prognosis for OSD is good, except for some discomfort in kneeling and activity restriction in a few cases. In rare cases surgical excision of the ossicle and/or free cartilaginous material may give good results in skeletally mature patients, who remain symptomatic despite conservative measures.

OSD runs a self-limiting course, and usually complete recovery is expected with closure of the tibial growth plate. A physical therapist can assist in early treatment with conservative modality interventions to help reduce discomfort. They can then gradually progress the athlete back to the desired activity level by evaluating muscle imbalances or decreased flexibility. To help prevent knee injuries and improve understanding of conditions such as OSD, young athletes should undergo a pre-season physical examination by a physical therapist.

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