Osgood-Schlatter Disease

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: John Mersch, MD, FAAP
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

What is the treatment and outlook for Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Patients with Osgood-Schlatter disease can be helped by anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications (for example, ibuprofen [Advil]), icing of the area, activity modification, and rest. Many athletes find that stretching the quadriceps and hamstring is also helpful. Osgood-Schlatter disease typically goes away over time (months to years after the normal bone growth stops). Some adults who had Osgood-Schlatter disease during adolescence are left with a "knobby" appearance at the previously involved patellar tendon tibial attachment site. In rare cases, if a bone fragment in this area continues to cause pain in adulthood, it may require surgical removal.

Are there home remedies for Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Fundamental home remedies for Osgood-Schlatter disease include rest, ice and cold pack application, compression, and elevating the inflamed extremity (RICE treatment). A daily stretching routine involving the quadriceps and hamstring muscles is also helpful.

Is it possible to prevent Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Yes, it's possible to prevent Osgood-Schlatter disease by limiting stress activities involving the knees. Such sports would include basketball, volleyball, ballet, gymnastics, and high jump. All of these sports require sudden explosive activation of the quadriceps muscles. A proper stretching routine involving the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups may be helpful to arrest the onset of Osgood-Schlatter disease.

REFERENCES:

Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2013.

Sullivan, J.A., and S.J. Anderson, eds. Care of the Young Athlete. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2000: 389.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/25/2016

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