Incidence and management of Osgood-Schlatter disease in general practice: retrospective cohort study

Br J Gen Pract. 2022 Mar 31;72(717):e301-e306. doi: 10.3399/BJGP.2021.0386. Print 2022 Apr.


Background: Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is a non-traumatic knee problem that is primarily observed in sports-active children and adolescents aged 8-15 years.

Aim: To determine the incidence of OSD and to gain an insight into the management of children and adolescents with OSD in general practice.

Design and setting: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using a healthcare database containing full electronic health records of over 200 000 patients in general practice in and around the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

Method: Patients with a new diagnosis of OSD from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2017 were extracted using a search algorithm based on International Classification of Primary Health Care coding and search terms in free text. Data on the management of OSD were manually interpreted.

Results: The mean incidence over the study period was 3.8 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.5 to 4.2) per 1000 person-years in those aged 8-18 years. Boys had a higher incidence rate of 4.9 (95% CI = 4.3 to 5.5) compared with girls (2.7, 95% CI = 2.3 to 3.2). Peak incidence was at 12 years of age for boys and 11 years for girls. Advice was the most commonly applied strategy (55.1%), followed by rest (21.0%), referral for imaging (19.5%), and physiotherapy (13.4%).

Conclusion: To the authors' knowledge, for the first time the incidence of OSD has been calculated using GP electronic medical files. There is a discrepancy, especially for imaging and referral to a medical specialist, between the current Dutch general practice guidelines and how GPs actually manage the condition in clinical practice.

Keywords: Osgood-Schlatter disease; general practice; incidence; management; primary health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • General Practice*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Osteochondrosis* / diagnosis
  • Osteochondrosis* / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies