Osgood-Schlatter Disease in Children
Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse
condition. It’s when the tendon at the front of a knee becomes injured and inflamed.
This tendon connects the thigh muscles to the knee and shin bone. It's also known
Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by
the constant pulling of the tendon in the knee. It's seen in growing children and
This is an age where the bones are typically growing faster than the muscles and
tendons. As a result, the muscles and tendons tend to become tight.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is common in young athletes who play games or sports that
involve running, jumping, or going up and down stairs. These include football, soccer,
basketball, gymnastics, or ballet. It most often affects preteen and teenage boys
ages 10 to 15.
The following are the most common symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease. Symptoms can
occur a bit differently in each child. Symptoms may include:
- Soreness below the knee
- Swelling below the knee
- Limping (may worsen following jumping activities)
These symptoms may seem like other health problems of the knee. See your child’s healthcare
provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s healthcare provider can
diagnose Osgood-Schlatter disease with a complete health history and physical exam
your child’s knee. Your child may also need to have an X-ray of the affected knee.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also
depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment is to control your child’s knee pain and prevent the condition
from worsening. Treatment may include:
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
- Medicines such as anti-inflammatories for discomfort and swelling
wrap, padding, or a neoprene sleeve around the knee
- Limits on activity
- Physical therapy to help stretch and strengthen the thigh and leg muscles
Osgood-Schlatter disease often goes away over time. In rare cases, your child may
Your child can develop Osgood-Schlatter disease again. To prevent that from happening,
have your child:
- Do exercises to strengthen the thigh and leg muscles. Your child’s healthcare provider
may recommend certain exercises or physical therapy.
- Ice the knee area after being active. It can ease pain and swelling. To make an ice
pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean,
thin towel or cloth. Never put ice or an ice pack directly on the skin.
- Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse condition that affects the tendons in the knee.
- Growing children who are active in sports are most at risk for this disease. It’s
common in children who participate in football, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, or
- Pain and swelling in the knee area are the main symptoms.
- Treatment includes RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) of the affected knee.
- Your child may also have to limit certain activities, such as running.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the
visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments,
tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child.
Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose
for that visit.
how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if
your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.