|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Can Osgood-Schlatter disease reoccur in adult life? That is a good and a difficult question. All the references I have found say something along the lines that Osgood-Schlatter disease is "usually" or "generally" or "mostly" found in adolescents. But given the symptoms of O-S and the causes, I would have to conclude that the answer is "Yes." What is Osgood-Schlatter disease? It is a combination of pain, swelling and tenderness just below the front of the knee. It is one of the most common causes of knee pain in young, athletic adolescents. What causes Osgood-Schlatter disease? The consensus is that it is casused by repeated stress and "microtrauma" to the tibia (shinbone) where the patellar tendon attaches. The very stong muscles in the front of the thigh -- the quadriceps -- extend through the quadriceps tendon through the patella and through the patellar tendon to their attachment at the front of the upper tibia. This is an area of active bone growth in children and adolescents. The idea behind O-S is that the strong tugging of the patellar tendon on the bone growth site can injure the bone and cartilidge at the site and cause the pain, swelling and tenderness. There may also be injury to the patellar tendon. Adults who never had O-S as a child can get similar pain, swelling and tenderness due to heavy stress. This can be either due to inflammation (tendinitis) or partial tear or complete tear of the patellar tendon. If O-S is not correctly treated in childhood, or is complicated by the presence of a piece of bone in the patellar tendon at the attachment site, the condition can persist for years. It is also possible for the pain and swelling to improve and then flare up due to stress later in life.
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