What is Osgood Schlatter disease?

Osgood Schlatter disease, or osteochondrosis mostly strikes adolescent boys. The condition involves the knee and the shinbone and is more common in athletes and kids who are undergoing growth spurts. It is rare in people older than 16. Our orthopedists are skilled at treating Osgood Schlatter disease in Plano, TX.


The condition occurs when the tibial tubercle, a bump where a knee tendon attaches to the shinbone, becomes inflamed, swollen and painful. You may also feel a tightness in the back or front muscles of your thigh. The symptoms can be mild or severe, and they get worse whenever the knee has to be bent. You can also feel the tibial tubercle just beneath your kneecap. It’s warm, tender and hurts when it’s pressed.



The orthopedist will examine your leg and ask questions about your activity level as well your symptoms. The doctor may take an X-ray or order a bone scan, which will be able to confirm the diagnosis.


Osgood Schlatter disease often responds to conservative treatment. This may mean the application of heating pads and/or ice packs. Ice should be applied for the first couple of days after symptoms appear to reduce the pain and swelling. After that, heat can help the symptoms. It can be applied by a heating pad or by taking warm baths.


In some cases, the doctor will prescribe NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. Indeed, in some cases the pain can be eased by over-the-counter medications. The doctor will also tell you to rest and give up your sports activities until the condition resolves.


The doctor might recommend a physical therapist who teaches you gentle exercises to ease your symptoms. These are usually exercises that stretch the hamstring and quadriceps in the thigh such as a standing quadriceps stretch. During this exercise, you stand in front of a table with your head forward, your spine neutral and your pelvis tilted back just little. Then, put your left foot on the table, and tilt your pelvis back until you feel the stretch in the front of the left thigh. You then hold and repeat the exercise with your right leg.


If you have a more severe case of the condition you may need to use crutches or have your leg put in a cast, a splint or a knee brace. Surgery is rarely needed for Osgood Schlatter disease. The best treatment depends on your individual needs.


After the symptoms subside, the doctor and physical therapist may recommend that you either stop or modify the activities that contributed to your pain. In any case, you shouldn’t return to your favorite sport too quickly. When you do start paying your sport again, the doctor or therapist may recommend that you wear a brace and make sure that you warm up and/or ice your knee before you begin a game.


Call Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine & Spine Center for treatment of Osgood Schlatter disease in Plano, TX.

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POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!