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Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is 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 affects boys from 10 to 18 years old. It also usually affects girls from 8 to 14 years old. Your child is more likely to get Osgood-Schlatter disease if he or she plays sports with jumping and pivoting. Examples of these sports include volleyball, basketball, hockey, soccer, skating, and gymnastics.

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

  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness below the knee
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Pain when kneeling on affected knee

How is Osgood-Schlatter disease diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child's knee and ask when the symptoms began. The healthcare provider may ask your child to do a single leg squat or standing broad jump. These activities are used to check for pain. Your child may need imaging tests 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 healthcare provider may suggest any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, 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 healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given in severe cases. Ask your child's healthcare provider how your child can take this medicine safely.
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles around your child's knee. The physical therapist will teach your child how to stretch and strengthen his or her hamstrings and quadriceps.
  • Surgery may be done if other treatment does not help with your child's pain.

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

  • Ice your child's knee for 15 to 20 minutes 2 to 3 times per day. 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 or her physical activity. This will help control your child's pain and allow the shinbone time to heal. Your child may be able to play sports once his or her pain is controlled.
  • Brace or wrap your child's knee as directed. This can help decrease pain and give your child's knee support.
  • Elevate your child's knee above the level of his or her heart. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your child's knee on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child has severe pain and cannot stand or walk on the injured leg.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

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

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 healthcare providers 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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