Osgood-Schlatter disease is probably the most frequent cause of knee pain in children. This typically occurs in boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 16, however younger children may also experience it. Often children experiencing a growth spurt will suffer with this disorder. While a physical examination looking at range of motion at the hip and knee, pain, swelling and redness are required to give a more definitive diagnosis, Osgood-Schlatter disease is almost always characterized by activity-related pain that occurs a few inches below the knee-cap, or patella, on the front of the knee. Soccer, basketball, hockey, and other sports that involve running, jumping and changes of direction are often associated with this disease.
The pain associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease can vary significantly from person to person. And while it may occur in both knees, it is more typical to involve just one knee. The pain may last for just a few weeks or many months and can be constant or only associated with activity such as running or jumping.
Children with Osgood-Schlatter disease may experience
Tightness of the muscles around the knee
Tenderness, pain or swelling just below the kneecap
What you can expect from therapy
A physical therapist can provide instruction in exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility, which may help decrease pain and improve the stability of the knee joint itself.