It Begins: Knee Pain

typical OSD case

An Injury For Athletes

Adolescent Knee Pain

I think was in either 6th or 7th grade when I developed knee pain in my left patellar tendon. The pain was constant and quite sharp at times. It did not go away with rest, and it did not go away with time like other minor bumps or strains.

Sports Were Probably The Cause

Growing up, I played a lot of sports. I played soccer, basketball, baseball, touch football, and tennis. I also did a lot of BMX biking, hiking, and running.

Given the fact that I developed OSD in only my left knee, I wonder if soccer might have been the main cause. Although I’m naturally pretty ambidextrous, I worked hard to develop a strong soccer kick using my left foot, which was not my dominant leg. I suspect that the repeated leg extension might have been the cause. I will never know for sure.

The Diagnosis

After at least a few weeks, my knee pain had not gone away. Once we noticed a pronounced bump developing in the patellar tendon, my dad took me to see our family practitioner.

The doctor immediately diagnosed the condition as Osgood-Schlatter Disease. The doctor did not recommend surgery. My dad remembered the doctor saying that knee surgery would be too risky for a growing boy. Instead, the doctor prescribed some exercises that would help to strengthen the knee. I remember doing the exercises for a few weeks or so, before giving up on them.

Annoying Pain

With time, the intensity of the pain diminished somewhat, but it never went away completely. I had this annoying pain in my knee that was always there, but it was not enough to prevent me from doing activities and sports. It hurt most if the knee was bumped on the patellar tendon or if I sat on my knees on the floor.

In general, the knee felt slightly weaker in strength than my healthy knee, and possibly a tiny bit looser. I played sports in high school and college. I never wore a knee brace during those years, and I doubt that I ever iced the knee to reduce swelling and pain. I put up with minor pain for several years.

Over time, the size of the bump on the patellar tendon grew larger. I never saw another doctor again about my knee, until I strained my patellar tendon playing softball in my late twenties.