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Osgood-Schlatter Disease

X-ray shows a more serious case of Osgood-Schlatter disease where bone fragment is seen separating away from tibia.


Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a common cause of knee pain in young children and adolescents who are still growing. In this condition there is pain and swelling below the knee joint on a prominence on the leg bone (tibia) called the tibial tuberosity.


  • A slightly swollen, warm and tender bump below the knee.
  • Pain with activity, especially straightening the leg against force, as in stair-climbing, jumping or weight-lifting.
  • The diagnosis is confirmed by X-ray which shows that the growth plate is wider than usual. The X-ray may show small bones in the growth plate


  • Osgood-Schlatters occurs when there is irritation of the bone growth plate in the area of the tibial tuberosity. Bones generally do not grow in the middle but at the ends near the joint at an area called the growth plate. These areas of growth are made of cartilage and not bone.
  • Probably results from stress or injury of the tibial tubercle (which is still developing during adolescence). Repeated stress or injury interferes with development, causing inflammation.

Risk increases with certain factors:

  1. Overzealous conditioning routines, such as running, jumping or jogging.
  2. Overweight
  3. Male between 11 and 18
  4. Rapid skeletal growth.


  • Help an overweight child lose weight.
  • Encourage your child to exercise moderately, avoiding extremes.


  • Ignore the pain. You can not grow out of this disease!


  • Use heat to relieve pain. Warm compresses, heating pads, warm whirlpool baths, heat lamps, diathermy or ultrasound are effective.

  • Ice applications may help.

  • Use a cushioned knee pad.

  • Provide the patient with emotional support and assurances that symptoms will diminish with time.


For minor discomfort, you may use non-prescription drugs such as paracetamol (ask your doctor before use).
Your doctor may prescribe cortisone injections, if other treatment fails. Cortisone injections may weaken tendons, so it is better to give the condition more time to heal than to use them.


Resting the affected leg is the most important treatment.
May require crutches, leg cast or splint, or an elastic knee brace that prevents the knee from bending fully. The child should not participate in sports during treatment. This is temporary, and normal activity can be resumed when inflammation subsides, but treatment often requires 2 to 6 months.

Avoid jumping activities and activities that cause pain to the leg.


No special diet, unless the child is overweight. Ask your doctor about a weight reduction diet.


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If you have any doubts about your child's foot health visit a chiropodist or podiatrist for a evaluation.
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