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Osgood-Schlatter's disease

Osgood-Schlatter's disease

Osgood-Schlatter's disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse condition or injury of the knee causing pain and swelling below the knee area over the shin bone. The inflammation is caused by the constant pulling of the tendons of the patella, or kneecap.

Osgood-Schlatter disease is common in adolescents, especially those who are active in sports. During adolescence, a child’s bones are usually growing at a faster rate than the muscles and tendons. Because of this, the muscles and tendons tend to become tight, causing swelling and pain in the knee area. Osgood-Schlatter disease is most often diagnosed in boys from 10 to 15 years old who are involved in sports requiring running, jumping, or going up and down stairs.

Signs of Osgood-Schlatter disease:

  • Tenderness below the knee
  • Swelling around the knee
  • Limping

In general, the knee pain is made worse with increased activities, especially running, jumping or climbing stairs. The pain often improves with a period of rest.

Diagnosing Osgood-Schlatter disease

Your doctor will likely ask you many questions about your child’s activities and may perform a physical examination. Your child’s doctor may also want to order the following tests:

  • X-rays
  • Bone scans
  • MRI
  • Blood tests

Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease

Treatments for Osgood-Schlatter disease will be determined by the extent of the condition and other factors specific to your child’s overall health and medical history. The goal of treatment is to control knee pain and limit your child’s activities that directly affect the condition. Treatment may include:

R.I.C.E. – Rest, ice, compression and elevation

Anti-inflammatory medication – Medication containing ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling

Elastic wrap – This will offer further support to the knee, especially during activities.

Restricted activities – Your child’s doctor may have them limit or temporarily stop sports or other activities that aggravate the condition.

Physical therapy – Exercises to strengthen and stretch the thigh and leg muscles will help in the healing process.