Osgood-Schlatter disease is one of the causes for knee pain in teenagers, especially those involved in sports. Go through this article for a brief overview about this medical condition.
Though it may sound something serious, Osgood-Schlatter disease is not a life-threatening condition. On the other hand it is a painful knee problem that may resolve on its own. It is commonly found in teenagers and kids, especially those in the age group of ten to fifteen. This condition is caused by repeated and frequent use of the knees, especially by those who are engaged in sports. So, Osgood-Schlatter disease is mostly found in young sports persons.
It has been observed that teenage boys are more prone to develop this condition, as they engage in sports and other such physical activities more commonly, as compared to girls. But nowadays, even girls are into sports, like boys and so both genders are equally susceptible to develop this disease. The disease is so named after Robert Bayley Osgood and Carl B. Schlatter. These are the two people who described the condition in 1903.
What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease
So, now you know that this disease affects the knee and causes knee pain in children and teenagers. In order to understand the Osgood-Schlatter disease, we have to take a look at the anatomy of some knee parts. This condition involves the quadriceps (that are located on the front of the thighs) which is attached to the kneecap or patella, on its lower end. The main part is played by the patellar tendon that connects the patella to the shin bone of tibia.
In those with Osgood-Schlatter disease, the quadriceps are used too frequently. Such overuse of the quadriceps on the front thighs builds pressure on the patellar tendon that is located on the lower part of the knee cap. Such pressure may cause irritation of the tendon, resulting in injuries to the location (anterior tibial tubercle), where the tendon is attached to the tibia.
Sometimes the pressure on the tendon may cause detachment of a small part of bone from this location. All these results in symptoms like knee pain and swelling. However, the knee cap is not found to be directly affected by this disease. This is only a possible cause for Osgood-Schlatter disease, which may develop in some people without any apparent reason.
What are its Symptoms
In most cases, symptoms are found to develop on a single leg. However, some of the affected people experience symptoms on both legs. The most common symptom of Osgood-Schlatter disease is pain just below the kneecap. The location may also develop some swelling or painful lumps. The pain may worsen with movement and improve with rest. Apart from tenderness of this area, the nearby muscles (especially quadriceps) may tighten. The nature and severity of the symptoms may vary from one person to another. Even the duration of the pain may vary from weeks to months. In some cases, the condition is found to resolve on its own, as the teenager crosses the growing stage.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In most cases, diagnosis is usually done with a physical examination of the patient and on the basis of the symptoms. Even X-ray tests may be recommended in some cases. This is to determine the extent of calcification at the anterior tibial tubercle. If there is detachment of any small part of the upper tibia, then, such a condition can also be detected with X-rays.
As mentioned above, the condition may resolve on its own, as the normal bone growth of the affected person stops. Some of these people may have a knob-like structure below the knee cap even after the condition is resolved completely. As the pain associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease is found to subside with rest, medication is usually not prescribed.
However, in some cases, pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are administered to those affected with the disease. Application of ice over the affected area is one of the best home remedies for alleviating this pain. Such people may be advised to stop strenuous activities involving the knees, for a few months. Sports people may also try using knee pads, while playing. A psychotherapist will be the best person to advise you about how to cope with the condition.
The above said is only a brief overview about the Osgood-Schlatter disease. This article is only for informational purposes and should not be used as replacement for expert medical advice. So, if you want to know more about the condition, contact your doctor.