Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a painful condition that usually affects the rapidly growing knee. The pain is located at the bony prominence just below the kneecap where the tendon attaches to the leg bone (tibia). Some physicians believe that the bony attachment actually tries to pull away from the leg bone, resulting in acute inflammation and tenderness. It is usually due to inflammation of a small growth plate in that area. Radiographs (x-rays) sometimes reveal a small piece of bone that is separated from the attachment site.
Living With Your Diagnosis
Osgood-Schlatter disease usually responds to a modification in activity level until the attachment site heals. Healing may be more difficult than first suspected, particularly for adolescents. The pain generally disappears when the attachment site finally fuses to the leg bone. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you may have to suspend some or all athletic activity.
Most cases of Osgood-Schlatter disease respond to a fairly brief period of inactivity during the most painful phase. However, some cases require more aggressive treatment. A cylinder cast may be necessary in particularly painful cases. Regular doses of aspirin may be needed. Anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful. Physical therapy can then be directed at proper stretching and strengthening. Aggressive stretching and strengthening exercises can be effective in preventing recurrences. Surgical treatment is not indicated unless the attachment site fractures from the leg.
The DOs
• Rest and immobilize the area as needed.
• Take your medications as prescribed.
• Exercise as directed.
The DON’Ts
• Do not insert anything inside the cast to scratch. This can cause a skin sore, which can become infected.
When to Call Your Doctor
• If the pain affects your function or if it has returned after treatment.
Websites: http://www.mayo.ivi.com/mayo/askphys/qacurr_3.htm