Also indexed as: Osteochondrosis (Tibial Tuberosity), Tibial
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:
- Slow the motion
- Avoid excessive sports activity or exercise that might aggravate
- Get extra antioxidants
- Take 400 IU a day of vitamin E and 150 mcg a day of selenium to
help the healing
- Chill the pain
- Apply ice regularly to the painful area to reduce
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.
About Osgood-Schlatter disease
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.
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What are the symptoms?
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
Vitamins that may be helpful
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
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
2. Wright JW. Personal correspondence, April 1997.
3. Aston B. Manganese and man. J Orthomolec Psychiatry