Scheuermann's disease: an update

Joint Bone Spine. 2014 May;81(3):209-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2013.11.012. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


Scheuermann's disease is a juvenile osteochondrosis of the spine. It is a disease of the growth cartilage endplate, probably due to repetitive strain on the growth cartilage weakened by a genetic background. The radiographic aspects are related to the vertebral endplate lesions and include vertebral wedging, irregularity of the vertebral endplate, and Schmorl's node (intraossous disk herniation). Disc alterations are frequent and may be secondary to dysfunction of the disc-vertebra complex. The definitions of Scheuermann's disease are varied; it can refer to the classical form of juvenile kyphosis, described by Scheuermann as well as asymptomatic radiographic abnormalities. Lumbar involvement is probably as frequent as the thoracic form and might be more painful. The first-line treatment is medical and includes rehabilitation and bracing. The earlier the start of treatment, the better the outcome, which highlights the importance of early diagnosis. Surgery is uncommon and must be limited to severe involvement after failure of conservative treatment. The natural history of Scheuermann's disease is unknown, but it might be associated with increased risk of back pain. The evolution of thoracolumbar and lumbar disease is unknown.

Keywords: Osteochondrosis; Scheuermann's disease; Scheuermann's kyphosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Scheuermann Disease / diagnosis*
  • Scheuermann Disease / genetics
  • Scheuermann Disease / physiopathology
  • Scheuermann Disease / therapy
  • Spine / physiopathology