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Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease:
Symptoms and Causes

Osgood Schlatter’s disease is a very common cause of knee pain in children and young athletes usually between the ages of 10 and 15. It occurs due to a period of rapid growth, combined with a high level of sporting activity.


Knee pain and stiffness; there may be swelling about the knee and tenderness when it is touched. Pain is often worse when jumping, running, or climbing stairs. The knee is usually sore to pressure at the point where the large tendon from the kneecap attaches to the prominence below.


The patellar tendon, which normally attaches to the tibial tuberosity, has been strained by the powerful quadriceps muscles. This tearing (avulsion) can be extremely painful and is sometimes disabling. Teenagers (especially boys) experience this problem more frequently than others; and it often occurs during or shortly after a growth spurt. It is common in those engaged in sports. Osgood-Schlatter’s disease may occur in both knees at the same time.

The problem tends to occur during the ages of 10 to 15 in boys, and 8 to 13 in girls. It generally lessens over a two-year period as the youth grows. The bone overgrowth may cause a protuberance.

Children with Osgood-Schlatter’s disease were formerly restricted from physical activity. Now most orthopedic physicians let the child decide his own level of activity.

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