Running places stress on the body that sometimes leads to injury. Some injuries are the result of overtraining. Young runners are at higher risk for developing certain types of overuse injuries because their bodies are not fully developed. If you are a young runner or the parent of a young runner and you notice a lump or bump at the top of the tibia, or shinbone, it could be a symptom of Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Runners often experience inflammation and pain on one leg, just below the knee on the tip of the tibia. This problem is known as Osgood-Schlatter disease. Osgood-Schlatter is prevalent in young runners in their teens but it may persist into adulthood. This problem presents itself with a number of symptoms. Tenderness or swelling at the top of the tibia when running or kneeling is very common. Some other symptoms include a bony "growth" at the top of the tibia that protrudes farther than the bone on your other tibia and tight quadriceps.
Young adults and adolescents involved in sports that demand a lot of running, jumping or abrupt changes of direction, such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, soccer or cross country, often experience pain on their tibia, right below the knee. This is called Osgood-Schlatter disease, although it is not really a disease, but it is an overuse injury. It is common in young athletes in their early teens because their bones are not fully developed. As a result of the stress from physical activity, the patellar tendon pulls away from the tibia in a manner similar to shinsplints. This pulling action leads to inflammation. Sometimes bone will form to fill the gap between the tendon and the tibia, resulting in the classic tibial lump.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is not typically considered dangerous. The biggest problem faced with Osgood-Schlatter is that it may mask a more serious injury, such as a stress fracture. You can run with it as long as you can tolerate the pain. Most cases of Osgood-Schlatter disease resolve themselves soon after bone growth stops. If the area is swollen or extremely painful and persists even with rest and ice, consult a sports trainer or physician, as it may have developed into a stress fracture.
The best treatment for any overuse injury is rest. Running on soft, even surfaces helps reduce the impact felt by your legs. Ice the affected area and take ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and tenderness. Strengthen and stretch your quadriceps muscle to keep it from stressing the patellar tendon. Another treatment option is a patellar tendon strap or tape that will act to hold the patellar tendon in place while you run.