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Osgood-Schlatter Disease

  • Definition

    Osgood-Schlatter disease is inflammation of the bone and surrounding soft tissue just below the knee. It occurs at the point where the shinbone attaches to the tendon of the kneecap.
    The Knee
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  • Causes

    Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by repeated tension or stress on the upper part of the shinbone during growth spurts.
  • Risk Factors

    Osgood-Schlatter disease is more common in males and in children 10 to 18 years of age. :
    Factors that may increase your risk of getting this condition include
    • Rapid growth spurts
    • Activities that stress the patellar tendon, such as jogging, jumping, and sudden turning
    • Being overweight
  • Symptoms

    Osgood-Schatter disease may cause:
    • Pain, swelling, and/or tenderness just below the knee that usually worsens during physical activity
    • A swollen, painful bump just below the knee
  • Diagnosis

    You will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, and physical activity. An examination of your knee will be done.
    Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
  • Treatment

    Osgood-Schlatter disease may go away when the bones and tendons have finished growing. The bump may be permanent.
    Treatment may include:
    Limited Exercise
    The area will need time to heal:
    • Activities that place stress on the patellar tendon will need to be avoided until the swelling and pain go away.
    • A strap, brace, or elastic bandage may need to be used to stabilize and support the area as it heals.
    • You may be referred to a physical therapist to strengthen the affected muscles.
    Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy may be needed to strengthen the affected muscles.
    Pain Relief
    Pain and swelling may be relieved with:
    • Ice compresses during a flare-up or after exercise
    • An over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen
    • A local injection of cortisone in severe cases
    Note : Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
    If the patellar tendon has pulled away from the shinbone, surgery may be needed to repair the tendon and remove fragments of bone. In most cases, surgery is not needed.
  • Prevention

    To prevent the occurrence or recurrence of Osgood-Schlatter disease:
    • Encourage overweight children to lose weight.
    • Encourage children to get moderate exercise.
    • Ask your child's doctor for stretching and strengthening exercises for the shinbone/patellar tendon.

    Family Doctor— American Academy of Family Physicians

    Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


    Canadian Orthopaedic Association

    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation


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    Aronen JG and Garrick JG. Sports-induced inflammation in the lower extremities. Hosp Pract. 1999;34:51.

    Ducher G, Cook J, Lammers G, Coombs P, Ptazsnik R, Black J, Bass SL. The ultrasound appearance of the patellar tendon attachment to the tibia in young athletes is conditional on gender and pubertal stage. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13(1):20-23.

    Osgood-Schlatter disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 3, 2015. Accessed June 29, 2015.

    Overuse injuries in children. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated December 2012. Accessed June 29, 2015.

    Pihlajamäki HK, Visuri TI. Long-term outcome after surgical treatment of unresolved Osgood-Schlatter disease in young men: surgical technique. J Bone Joint Surg A . 2010;92: Suppl 1 Pt 2:258-264.

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