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Quick Facts

Osgood-Schlatter Disease


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2019| Content last modified Oct 2019
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What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is painful inflammation of the bone and cartilage at the top of a child's lower leg (shinbone).

  • Osgood-Schlatter usually happens to children 10 to 15 years old who are active in sports

  • It's caused by overuse of the leg

  • Your child will have pain, swelling, and tenderness in one knee

  • Doctors treat Osgood-Schlatter disease with pain medicine and rest

What are the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter include:

  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness at the front of the knee, just below the kneecap

  • Pain that gets worse with activity and better with rest

Symptoms are usually in just one knee.

How can doctors tell if my child has Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Doctors can tell if your child has Osgood-Schlatter by asking about your child's symptoms and doing a physical exam. Sometimes, doctors do x-rays.

How do doctors treat Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Doctors will have your child:

  • Rest and avoid deep knee bends

  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen

  • Do stretching exercises

  • Apply ice to the knee

Usually children can continue to play sports while healing. Symptoms typically go away after several weeks or months.

If the disease is severe, doctors may:

  • Put a cast on the leg

  • Give corticosteroid shots

  • Do surgery

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