A pain in the knee: Osgood Schlatter disease

Medical mystery: What is that lump?
Hint: Your basketball star now is taller than you and works out daily.
Hint: He talks about pain at this spot.
Answer: Your kid’s tibial tuberosity when affected by Osgood Schlatter disease

First, some knee anatomy. The knee cap (patella) is anchored into place by tendons and ligaments. One called the patellar tendon attaches to the shin bone (tibia) below the knee at a point called the tibial tuberosity .

Repetitive bending movements of the knee, such as running and jumping, cause the patella tendon to pull on the bone where it attaches at the tibial tuberosity. Strain can result in a large tender lump which forms as the body tries to repair this area. This condition called Osgood Schlatter disease is associated with puberty, so most kids eventually “grow out of it.”

Ice, rest, and ibuprofen will alleviate pain. Your child’s health care provider may recommend gentle stretching of the quadriceps muscles or a knee brace. Beware of increased pain because rarely the muscle tears away from the bone and causes stress fractures.

Never know when you will “kneed” this information.

Naline Lai, MD and Julie Kardos, MD
© 2011 Two Peds in a Pod®

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