Is your child complaining of knee pain?
Does it get worse with jumping sports?
Is there a painful lump on the shin bone?
These symptoms are consistent with Osgood Schlatter Disease (OSD); however it can often be confused with tendonitis of the knee. It is important to differentiate the two as OSD may require a longer rest period and symptoms may last longer than tendonitis.
OSD is inflammation of the patellar tendon where it attaches to the shin (tibia) bone. The patellar tendon attaches to the tibial tuberosity, right below the kneecap (patella), and this area usually becomes quite tender to the touch. OSD often develops during puberty and/or growth spurts in young athletes and is a very common cause of knee pain. Rapid growth spurts may lead to the bones lengthening very quickly. The tendon starts to pull away from the bone so the body lays down more bone to maintain the connection. This overlay of bone becomes a tender lump on the tibial tuberosity.
OSD affects more boys than girls and symptoms may last up to two years. The easiest way to identify OSD is to determine if the athlete has pain on the tibial tuberosity or if the pain is in the space between the kneecap and the tibia (this is the patellar tendon).
Generally, ice after activity, gentle quadriceps stretching, anti-inflammatories and activity modification help relieve pain. A Cho-Pat strap which decreases tension of the tendon on the attachment point may help relieve pain as well. If the above recommendations do not alleviate the pain to a level where participation is tolerable, then complete rest may be necessary. Evaluation by a primary care provider or orthopedic will help to determine the degree of rest needed for resolution of symptoms.