Also indexed as: Osteochondrosis (Tibial Tuberosity), Tibial Apophysitis
Kids who play competitive sports during growth spurts may be prone to knee problems known as Osgood-Schlatter disease. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful:
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading the full Osgood-Schlatter disease article for more in-depth, fully-referenced information on medicines, vitamins, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes that may be helpful.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a form of osteochondrosis, a disease of the growth center at the end of long bones. The disease occurs in adolescence, most commonly among 10- to 15-year-old boys, and is often the result of rapid growth combined with competitive sports that overstress the knee joint. The patellar tendon, which attaches the kneecap to the tibia, is sometimes strained and partially torn from the bone by the powerful quadriceps muscles. This tearing, called avulsion, may be extremely painful and is sometimes disabling. It may occur in one or both knees. The knee is usually tender to pressure at the point where the large tendon from the kneecap attaches to the prominence below.
Product ratings for Osgood-Schlatter disease
|Science Ratings||Nutritional Supplements||Herbs|
Manganese, vitamin B6, and zinc (in combination)
and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.
People with Osgood-Schlatter disease experience tenderness, swelling, and pain just below one knee that usually worsens with activity, such as going up or down stairs, and is relieved by rest. Symptoms may also include the appearance of a bony bump below the knee cap that is especially painful when pressed.
In most cases, symptoms disappear without treatment when a child’s growth is completed. Healthcare providers may recommend applying ice to the knee when pain first appears in order to help relieve inflammation. Participation in sports and excessive exercise might be limited. Severe cases might require immobilization of the leg in a cast or surgical treatment.
Based on the personal experience of a doctor who reported his findings,1 some physicians recommend vitamin E (400 IU per day) and selenium (50 mcg three times per day). One well-known, nutritionally oriented doctor reports anecdotally that he has had considerable success with this regimen and often sees results in two to six weeks.2
Another group of doctors has reported good results using a combination of zinc, manganese, and vitamin B6 for people with Osgood-Schlatter disease; however, the amounts of these supplements were not mentioned in the report.3 Most physicians would consider reasonable daily amounts of these nutrients for adolescents to be 15 mg of zinc, 5 to 10 mg of manganese, and 25 mg of vitamin B6. Larger amounts might be used with medical supervision.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or interactions.
1. Reich, CJ. Vitamin E, selenium, and knee problems. Lancet 1976;i:257 [letter].
2. Wright JW. Personal correspondence, April 1997.
3. Aston B. Manganese and man. J Orthomolec Psychiatry 1980;9:237–49.
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The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.