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Condition

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a painful swelling of the bump on the upper part of the shinbone, just below the knee. This bump is called the anterior tibial tubercle.

What are the alternative names for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osteochondrosis; Knee pain - Osgood-Schlatter

What are the causes for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is thought to be caused by small injuries to the knee area from overuse before the knee is finished growing.

The quadriceps muscle is a large, strong muscle on the front part of the upper leg. When this muscle squeezes (contracts), it straightens the knee. The quadriceps muscle is an important muscle for running, jumping, and climbing.

When the quadriceps muscle is used a lot in sports activities during a child's growth spurt, this area becomes irritated or swollen and causes pain.

It is common in adolescents who play soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and who participate in gymnastics. Osgood-Schlatter disease affects more boys than girls.

What are the symptoms for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

The main symptom is painful swelling over a bump on the lower leg bone (shinbone). Symptoms occur on one or both legs.

You may have leg pain or knee pain, which gets worse with running, jumping, and climbing stairs.

The area is tender to pressure, and swelling ranges from mild to very severe.

What are the current treatments for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease will almost always go away on its own once the child stops growing.

Treatment includes:

  • Resting the knee and decreasing activity when symptoms develop
  • Putting ice over the painful area 2 to 4 times a day, and after activities
  • Taking Ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or acetaminophen (Tylenol)

In many cases, the condition will get better using these methods.

Adolescents may play sports if the activity does not cause too much pain. However, symptoms will get better faster when activity is limited. Sometimes, a child will need to take a break from most or all sports for 2 or more months.

Rarely, a cast or brace may be used to support the leg until it heals if symptoms do not go away. This most often takes 6 to 8 weeks. Crutches may be used for walking to keep weight off the painful leg.

Surgery may be needed in rare cases.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Most cases get better on their own after a few weeks or months. Most cases go away once the child finished growing.

When should I contact a medical professional for Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Call your provider if your child has knee or leg pain, or if pain does not get better with treatment.

How do I prevent Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

The small injuries that may cause this disorder often go unnoticed, so prevention may not be possible. Regular stretching, both before and after exercise and athletics, can help prevent injury.

Leg

REFERENCES

Canale ST. Osteochondrosis or epiphysitis and other miscellaneous affections. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 32.

Milewski MD, Sweet SJ, Nissen CW, Prokop TK. Knee injuries in skeletally immature athletes. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 135.

Sarkissian EJ, Lawrence JTR. The knee. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 677.

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Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Osgood-Schlatter Disease (OSD)
  • Journal: Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • Treatment Used: Dextrose Injections
  • Number of Patients: 38
  • Published —
This study compared the effects of dextrose injection and saline injection in the treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD), an inflammation of tibial tuberosity.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: proximal tibia deformity in Blount disease in adolescent and young adults
  • Journal: Journal of orthopaedic surgery (Hong Kong)
  • Treatment Used: gradual correction through single-level extra-articular corticotomy
  • Number of Patients: 22
  • Published —
The purpose of the study was to investigate the surgical outcome and complication rate of gradual correction of neglected Blount disease through single-level extra-articular corticotomy.