The quadriceps ( thigh muscles) attach to the patella and when they pull on it, this increases the tension on the patellar tendon, which in turns pulls on the tibial tuberosity. Repetitive tractions of the latter leads to pain, inflammation and swelling and the tibial tuberosity can become very pronounced.
A repeated overuse and stress of the patellar tendon seems to be the main cause of Osgood-Schlatters Disease. Activities such as volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, football or athletics, which involve a lot of running and jumping can stress the knee and the muscles of the thigh even more, leading to development of Osgood-Schlatters.
A postural imbalance might also be a contributing factor for the Osgood-Schlatter condition. An imbalance may lead to an asymmetrical distribution of weight through the lower limbs and increase the stress of one knee more than the other.
Overall, several risk factors can be identified. They are:
- Sex. Boys are more likely than girls to develop Osgood-Schlatter disease.
- Age. Osgood-Schlatter is a condition that develops during puberty, when the bone growth is not completed and the cartilagine is less resistant and more easily deformable by the power of the patellar tendon. The condition usually occurs in boys between the ages of 12 and 14 and girls between the age of 10 and 13.
- Sports. Children who practice sports that involve running and jumping are more likely to develop the Osgood-Schlatters disease.
- Muscle tightness/flexibility. Increased tightness in the quadriceps muscles can increase the pull of the patellar tendon and consequently the stress on the top of the shinbone.