Osgood-Schlatter disease is osteochondrosis of the tibial tubercle.
Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs between ages 10 yr and 15 yr and is usually unilateral. Although the disease is more common among boys, this status is changing as girls become more active in sports programs. Etiology is thought to be trauma due to excessive traction by the patellar tendon on its immature epiphyseal insertion, leading to microavulsion fractures. Characteristic symptoms are pain, swelling, and tenderness over the tibial tubercle at the patellar tendon insertion. There is no systemic disturbance.
Diagnosis is by characteristic findings isolated over the tibial tubercle on examination. Lateral knee x-rays may show fragmentation of the tibial tubercle. However, x-rays are not needed unless other disorders (eg, injury, joint inflammation) are suggested by pain and swelling extending beyond the area over the tibial tubercle or pain is accompanied by redness and warmth.
Resolution is usually spontaneous within weeks or months. Usually, taking analgesics and avoiding excessive exercise, especially deep knee bending, are the only necessary measures. Complete avoidance of sports is unnecessary. Rarely, immobilization in plaster, intralesional injection of hydrocortisone, surgical removal of loose bodies (eg, ossicles, avulsed fragments of bone), drilling, and grafting are required.
Last full review/revision May 2013 by David D. Sherry, MD; Frank Pessler, MD, PhD
Content last modified May 2013