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Alternative Names Return to topOsteochondrosis
Definition Return to top
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a painful swelling of the bump on the front, upper part of the lower leg bone. This bump is called the anterior tibial tubercle.
Causes Return to top
Osgood-Schlatter disease is thought to be caused by small, usually unnoticed, injuries caused by repeated overuse before growth of the area is complete. The disorder is seen most often in active, athletic adolescents, usually between ages 10 and 15. It is common in adolescents who play soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and who participate in gymnastics. Osgood-Schlatter disease affects more boys than girls.
Symptoms Return to top
The main symptom is a painful swelling just below the knee on the front (anterior) surface of the lower leg bone. Symptoms occur on one or both legs.
The person 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.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Your doctor can tell if you have this condition by performing a physical exam.
A bone x-ray may be normal, or it may show swelling or damage to the tibial tubercle. X-rays are rarely used unless the doctor wants to rule out other causes for the pain.
Treatment Return to top
Treatment starts with rest, ice, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. In many cases, the condition will get better using these methods.
In the rare case where symptoms do not go away, a cast or brace may be used to support the leg until it heals. This typically takes 6 - 8 weeks. Crutches may be used for walking to keep weight off the painful leg.
Rarely, surgery may be needed.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most cases get better on their own after a few weeks or months. Most cases eventually go away once the child finished growing.
Adolescents should be allowed to play sports if the activity does not cause discomfort. However, the condition will get better faster if such activity is kept to a minimum.
Possible Complications Return to top
Chronic pain is the most significant complication.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if your child has knee or leg pain, or if pain does not get better with treatment.
Prevention Return to top
The small injuries that may cause this disorder are usually unnoticed, so prevention may not be possible. Regular stretching, both before and after exercise and athletics, can help prevent injury.
References Return to top
Patel DR. Musculoskeletal injuries in sports. Prim Care. Jun 2006; 33(2): 545-79.
Cassas KJ. Childhood and adolescent sports-related overuse injuries. Am Fam Physician. Mar 2006; 73(6): 1014-22.
Mercier LR. Osgood-Schlatter disease. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2009:593.Update Date: 12/1/2008 Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.