MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Can Osgood Schlatters Syndrome reoccur in later adult life?

Date: Sun Oct 14 16:28:51 2001
Posted By: Robert Schier, M.D., Radiology, Pacific Imaging Consultants
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 1000798839.Me

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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