Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain at the insertion of the patellar tendon on the tibial tubercle. The stress from a contracting quadriceps muscle is transmitted through the developing tibial tubercle, which can cause a microfracture or partial avulsion fracture in the ossification center. It usually occurs after a growth spurt and is more common in boys. The age at onset is typically 11 years for girls and 13 to 14 years for boys.
Patients will present with pain during and after activity as well as have tenderness and local swelling over the tibial tubercle. Radiographs may be necessary to rule out infection, tumor, or avulsion fracture.
Rest and activity modification are paramount for treatment. Pain control medications and icing may be helpful. Lower extremity flexibility and strengthening exercise programs are important. Some patients may require immobilization. The course is usually benign, but symptoms frequently last 1 to 2 years. Complications can include bony enlargement of the tibial tubercle and avulsion fracture of the tibial tubercle.