Osgood Schlatter Syndrome

Osgood Schlatter is a condition that causes knee pain in adolescents.  There is traction of the patellar tendon on the anterior tip of the tibia, at the bottom of the knee.   It is noticeable in children between the ages of 9-14, and it is especially noticeable in children who enjoy sports.  Sports with running or jumping tend to be associated with this condition.    The pain of this condition may be worse with kneeling, running, jumping, squatting, climbing stairs.  It may occur on one side or both sides.  It tends to be noticed after a growth spurt.

Normally the diagnosis can be made without an xray.   The range of motion of the affected knee is not affected.  Tenderness to touching the anterior tibia may be present.  Extending the knee against resistance may be painful, or there may be pain when squatting with the knee flexed.    A similar condition, jumper’s knee, will cause pain in the patellar tendon rather than on the tibia.

Most cases of Osgood Schlatter will resolve with icing and rest over several months.  Avoidance of sports is not necessary, although aggravating activities may be avoided.   Playing with mild pain is normally ok.   Occasional exacerbations may be noticed from time to time.  These should resolve quickly.  Stretching of the quad and hamstrings muscles prevents flare ups of this condition.

Surgery for Osgood Schlatter is not normally needed.  In some cases surgery is performed after growth ceases, since residual bone formation may interfere with knee mechanics.

Sometimes prominence of the anterior tibia is noticed after this condition.  Some people with this condition have a history of knee swelling or pain associated with activity.