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Copyright 2007 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Osgood-Schlatter Disease (Knee Pain)
Description

Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse injury that occurs in the knee area of growing adolescents. It is caused by inflammation of the tendon below the kneecap (patellar tendon) where it attaches to the shinbone (tibia). Young adolescents who participate in certain sports, including soccer, gymnastics, basketball, and distance running, are most at risk for this disease.

Symptoms

  • Knee pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness below the kneecap

Left: The tendon below the kneecap (patellar tendon) attaches to the shinbone (tibia) at the tibial tubercle. Right: In Osgood-Schlatter disease, the enlarged, inflamed tibial tubercle is nearly always tender when pressure is applied.

Treatment

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment is aimed at reducing the pain and swelling. This may include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and wrapping the knee until the child can enjoy activity without discomfort or significant pain afterwards.

Symptoms that worsen with activity may require rest for several months, followed by a conditioning program. In some patients, Osgood-Schlatter symptoms may last for 2 to 3 years. However, most symptoms will completely disappear with completion of the adolescent growth spurt, around age 14 for girls and age 16 for boys.

Last reviewed: August 2007

Reviewed by members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS "Find an Orthopaedist" program on this website.
Copyright 2007 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
OrthoInfo
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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Rosemont, IL 60018
Phone: 847.823.7186
Email: orthoinfo@aaos.org

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