What is Osgood-Schlatter disease? — Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that causes pain on the front of the knee, right below the knee cap . This condition usually affects children ages 9 to 14.
Osgood-Schlatter disease happens after a child has a growth spurt, which is when he or she grows a lot in a short amount of time. The disease commonly happens in children who do sports or activities that involve a lot of running or jumping.
Osgood-Schlatter disease can affect one or both knees.
What are the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease? — Osgood-Schlatter disease causes pain and sometimes swelling on the front of the knee, right below the knee cap. Doctors call this spot the “tibial tuberosity.”
The pain usually gets worse over time and can be severe. It gets worse with running, kneeling, jumping, climbing stairs, and walking up hills. The pain gets better with rest.
Will my child need tests? — Probably not. Your child’s doctor or nurse should be able to tell if your child has Osgood-Schlatter disease by learning about his or her symptoms and doing an exam.
Most children do not need X-rays. But the doctor might order an X-ray of the knee to make sure another condition isn’t causing your child’s symptoms.
How is Osgood-Schlatter disease treated? — Osgood-Schlatter disease usually goes away on its own after a child stops growing. This can take 6 to 18 months.
During this time, there are things you can do to ease your child’s symptoms when they get worse or flare up. You can:
●Put ice on the knee – Put a cold gel pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables on the painful area every 1 to 2 hours, for 15 minutes each time. Put a thin towel between the ice (or other cold object) and your child’s skin.
●Give your child a pain-relieving medicine – Over-the-counter medicines include acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin).
After the pain improves, the doctor will probably recommend that your child work with a physical therapist (exercise expert). The physical therapist can teach your child exercises to strengthen and stretch the leg muscles.
Can my child continue doing his or her sport or activity? — Yes. Children with Osgood-Schlatter disease can keep doing their sport or activity, as long as:
●The pain isn’t too severe.
●The pain improves within a day with rest.
To help protect the knee from getting hurt, the doctor might recommend that your child wear a pad or brace made to cushion the front of the knee.
Does Osgood-Schlatter disease cause long-term knee problems? — Not usually. In some children, though, the knee swelling lasts for a long time, even after the pain has gone away.
Also, although uncommon, some children have knee pain even after they stop growing. If your child’s pain doesn’t improve after he or she stops growing, let the doctor or nurse know. He or she might recommend other possible treatment.