Adolescents and teens are still in their growing stage, with bones that are completing their growth cycle. This includes the leg bones, where growth plates exist on the ends of the femurs and tibia. The growth plate on the top of the tibia is where the patella tendon attaches. For some young athletes, this growth plate can be irritated, resulting in Osgood Schlatter disease. At Shoulders & Knees, Dr. Steven Struhl offers Osgood Schlatter disease treatment at our clinics in NYC and Westchester.
Osgood Schlatter disease is most common in active adolescents and teens ages 10-15, usually boys. Those affected usually participate in running and jumping sports like cross country, track, basketball, soccer and football. The patella tendon attaches the patella, or kneecap, to the tibia at the tibial tuberosity, right where a growth plate exists on the tibia. The growth plate is cartilage that will change to bone as the child finishes their growth. Osgood Schlatter disease occurs when the pull of the patella tendon aggravates the growth plate, causing symptoms such as:
- Swelling under the knee
- Pain on the lower portion of the knee
- Tenderness and pain when kneeling or pressure is put on the tibial tuberosity
Going up and down stairs, running and any contact with the knee can cause pain and irritation.
Managing Teen Knee Pain
In most cases, Osgood Schlatter disease and its symptoms will dissipate on their own as the growth plate on the tibia changes from cartilage to bone. Symptoms can be managed with the use of ice to reduce inflammation and swelling and OTC pain medications. For severe cases, physical therapy can be helpful, as well as the use of certain support devices for the knee. In some cases, additional treatments or surgery may be required for those with Osgood Schlatter disease that continues to cause symptoms after the tibia growth plate has completed the growth cycle.
For those with teen athletes suffering from knee pain caused by Osgood Schlatter disease, there are options for managing pain. Contact us at Shoulders & Knees to schedule a consultation with Dr. Steven Struhl to discuss Osgood Schlatter disease treatment options.