NASPE/NCAT Sport Injury Resource
This syndrome is one of the more common conditions of the immature adolescent’s
knee. It has been described as an avulsion or pulling away of the patellar tendon
from the tibia tubercle or inflammation of the tubercle. The tubercle is located
on the front of the leg just below the knee and is the site of an epiphysis
or area of immature bone. This area is vulnerable to stress during rapid growth
periods of adolescence and can be aggravated by start and stop activities such
as basketball and tennis. The condition usually arises in early adolescence
and resolves at the age of 18 or 19. It is seen more often in males than females
and can involve one or both limbs.
Signs and symptoms include chronic pain and swelling over the tibial tuberosity
(bony lump seen right below the patella), with the most distinguishing characteristic
of point tenderness on palpation of the tuberosity or bony bump. The athlete
usually complains of increased pain when running, jumping, kneeling, or after
a fall or blow to the painful area. While pain is often relieved by ice, rest,
and periods of inactivity this conditions as other injuries described above
has the potential to become serious and usually persists for several months.
Early diagnosis, treatment, and activity modifications by a physician will afford
the athlete the best opportunity to avoid casting or surgery and allow a rapid
return to their pre-injury level of participation.
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