What Is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain in children and teens. It can cause a painful bump to develop just below the knee area over the shinbone and cause swelling of the tissues surrounding the tissue that joins the kneecap to the shinbone (also known as the patellar tendon).

What Causes Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter is caused by rapid growth and high levels of activity in children and teens. This combination results in stress on the knee joint, leading to irritation where the tendon connects to the shinbone. The condition is especially common in children and teens who participate in activities that involve repetitive squatting, bending, running or jumping.

Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in kids ages 9 to 16 years old.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Symptoms and Effects

If your child has Osgood-Schlatter disease, you might look for common symptoms such as:

  • Tenderness or pain below the knee.
  • Swelling below the knee.
  • A painful bump at the top of the shinbone.

Once your child’s bones stop growing, the symptoms often disappear. Sometimes the bump at the top of the shinbone remains until adulthood, even though other symptoms no longer exist. The bump, however, usually doesn’t interfere with normal use of the knee.

If your child has recurrent episodes of Osgood-Schlatter disease, they might develop a knobby looking knee that will remain in adulthood.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing Osgood-Schlatter disease often includes:

  • A physical exam, focusing on the knee area to look for pain, swelling, tenderness and redness.
  • A review of your child’s medical history.
  • X-rays to get a more detailed view of how the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone.

Usually, the disease goes away on its own. If your child is still growing and is experiencing symptoms, Osgood-Schlatter disease treatment might include:

  • Rest.
  • Icing the area.
  • Medication to relieve pain, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • Physical therapy that includes strengthening and stretching exercises to help stabilize the knee joint.

Integrated Care

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is a national leader in pediatric orthopedics. Helping your child to be healthy, independent and happy is our top priority.

Experts in Osgood-Schlatter disease will collaborate to develop a customized and coordinated treatment plan for your child. Your family might work with experts in: