Osgood-Schlatter disease is probably the most frequent cause of knee pain in children. The condition occurs most commonly in children between the ages of 10 and 15 years, who are both physically active and in a "growth spurt". Both boys and girls are equally vulnerable to its debilitating effects. Osgood-Schlatter disease is always characterized by activity-related pain that occurs a few inches below the knee-cap, or patella, on the front of the knee (soreness and swelling at the tibial tuberosity). The child will have swelling in the area, and tenderness to touch. Sports requiring lots of running, jumping, kneeling, and squatting are particularly associated.
It is believed that Osgood-Schlatter disease results from the pull of the large powerful muscles in the front of the thigh (called the quadriceps). The quadriceps join with the patellar tendons, which run through the knee and into the tibia, to connect the muscles to the knee. When the quadriceps contract, the patellar tendons can start to pull away from the shinbone, causing pain.
This problem becomes more noticeable during activities that require running, jumping or going up or down stairs. It's most common in young athletes who play football, soccer or basketball or are involved in gymnastics and ballet.
The treatment for Osgood-Schlatter Disease is abbreviated as "RICE". This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
R = Rest the knee from the painful activity.
I = Ice the affected area for 20 minutes, 3 times a day.
C = Compress the painful area with an elastic bandage.
E = Elevate the leg.
Often non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are also recommended. Osgood-Schlatter disease often resolves with time. Rarely is surgery required for this condition.