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Osgood-schlatter Disease


What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is an inflammation of the bony outgrowth on the shinbone just below the knee. It is caused by strain on the tendon that connects the thigh muscle to the shinbone. Osgood-Schlatter disease usually occurs during growth spurts in children 8 to 16 years old. Your child is more likely to get Osgood-Schlatter disease if he plays sports with running and jumping.

What are the signs and symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease?

  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness below the knee
  • Pain that worsens with activity

How is Osgood-Schlatter disease diagnosed?

Your child's caregiver will examine your child's knee and ask when his symptoms began. Your child's caregiver may request a bone scan, ultrasound, or MRI to see if your child's shinbone is damaged.

How is Osgood-Schlatter disease treated?

Osgood-Schlatter disease usually heals on its own within 2 years of the bones maturing. Your child's caregiver may suggest any of the following:

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask your child's caregiver if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medication may be given in severe cases. Ask your child's caregiver how your child can take this medicine safely.
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles around your child's knee.

How can I help manage my child's Osgood-Schlatter disease?

  • Ice your child's knee for 15 to 20 minutes after exercise. Use an ice pack, or put crushed iced in a plastic bag and cover it with a towel. Ice helps decrease swelling and pain.
  • Have your child reduce his physical activity. This will help control his pain and allow his shinbone time to heal.
  • Brace or wrap your child's knee as directed. This can help decrease pain and promote healing.
  • Elevate your child's knee above the level of his heart. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your child's knee on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

What are the risks of Osgood-Schlatter disease?

If Osgood-Schlatter disease is not treated, your child's pain may get worse. Rarely, the tendon could tear away from the shinbone completely, and your child would need surgery. Adults who have had Osgood-Schlatter disease often have permanent knobs on their shinbones. Some adults may still have pain with kneeling.

When should I contact my child's caregiver?

  • Your child's pain becomes worse even after he takes pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care for my child?

  • Your child cannot stand or walk on his injured leg because the pain is so severe.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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