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Health Information For Parents
Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is swelling and irritation of the growth plate at the top of the shinbone. A growth plate is a layer of
near the end of a bone where most of the bone’s growth happens. It is weaker and more at risk for injury than the rest of the bone.
OSD goes away when a child stops growing and usually doesn’t cause lasting problems.
OSD typically causes pain and swelling below the kneecap. The pain usually gets worse with running, jumping, going up stairs, and walking up hills. Severe pain may lead to limping. OSD can happen in one or both knees.
Osgood-Schlatter disease happens during the growth spurt of puberty. During a child’s growth spurt, the bones, muscles, and tendons grow at different rates. In OSD, the tendon that connects the shinbone to the kneecap pulls on the growth plate at the top of the shinbone. Activities and sports cause this to happen over and over, which causes injury to the growth plate. This injury leads to the pain of OSD.
OSD usually happens in kids that are:
OSD is an overuse injury. This means it happens when a child does the same movements over and over again.
To diagnose Osgood-Schlatter disease, health care providers:
Usually no testing is needed. Sometimes the health care provider orders an X-ray to check for other knee problems.
Kids with Osgood-Schlatter disease need to limit activities that cause pain that makes it hard to do that activity. For example, it’s OK for a child who feels a little pain when running to keep running. But if running causes a limp, the child should stop and rest. When the pain is better (usually after a day or two), the child can try the activity again.
Sometimes health care providers recommend physical therapy (PT) to keep leg muscles strong and flexible while a child gets better. It doesn’t happen often, but some kids might need a total break from all sports and physical activities.
To help your child feel more comfortable while healing from OSD:
Osgood-Schlatter disease usually goes away when the bones stop growing. Typically, this is when a teen is between 14 and 18 years old.
Yes, kids with OSD can usually do their normal activities, including sports, as long as:
For kids who play sports, it can help to:
Long-term effects of OSD usually aren’t serious. Some kids may have a painless bump below the knee that doesn’t go away. Very rarely, doctors will do surgery to remove a painful bump below the knee.
Some adults who had OSD as kids or teens have some pain with kneeling. If your child still has knee pain after the bones stop growing, see your health care provider. The provider can check for other causes of knee pain.
Knee injuries are common among young athletes. Learn about causes, treatments, and prevention.
Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) happen when movements are repeated over and over, damaging a bone, tendon, or joint.
Jumper’s knee is an overuse injury that happens when frequent jumping, running, and changing direction damages the patellar tendon.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or runner’s knee) is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also happen to other athletes who do activities that require a lot of knee bending.
Participation in sports can teach kids sportsmanship and discipline. But sports also carry the potential for injury. Here’s how to protect your kids.
Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is an overuse injury that can cause knee pain in teens, especially during growth spurts. Learn more.
Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.
Winning is all that matters when you play sports, right? Not when that means you can’t even enjoy the game. Read about how to handle sports pressure and competition.
Does your child sometimes wake up crying in the middle of the night complaining of throbbing leg pain? It could be growing pains.
Without bones, muscles, and joints, we couldn’t stand, walk, run, or even sit. The musculoskeletal system supports our bodies, protects our organs from injury, and enables movement.
A knee X-ray can help find the causes of pain, tenderness, swelling, or deformity of the knee, and detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.
Bursitis, an irritation of the small fluid sacs that provide cushioning in some joints, is often caused by sports-related injuries or repeated use of a particular joint.
Flatfeet, toe walking, pigeon toes, bowlegs, and knock-knees. Lots of kids have these common orthopedic conditions, but are they medical problems that can and should be corrected?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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