Osgood-Schlatter Disease – A Pain in The Knee for Kids

By Western Berks on March 21st, 2016

If your child experiences knee discomfort or complains of a pain in their knee, it could be due to Osgood-Schlatter disease. Although temporary, this condition can be a source of pain and swelling. Most children suffering from Osgood-Schlatter disease also experience a tender bump just below the kneecap.

The pain associated with this condition appears when children, whose bones are growing rapidly, are involved in running and jumping activities. It occurs more often in athletic children than those who are more sedentary, and it affects as many as one in six adolescent athletes. Osgood-Schlatter disease appears most often in boys aged 13 to 14 and girls aged 10 to 11, although it is more common in boys.

So what should you do if your child is complaining of a tender knee? First, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Most doctors recommend conservative treatment for Osgood-Schlatter disease. This may include:

  • Administering anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications
  • Applying ice to avoid pain and swelling
  • Limiting time spent in activities that might aggravate the condition, such as kneeling, running and jumping
  • Exercising, at home or with a physical therapist, to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, which can sometimes prevent further problems

Most symptoms will completely disappear when a child completes the adolescent growth spurt, around age 14 for girls and age 16 for boys. For this reason, surgery is rarely recommended.

The condition usually subsides within a year, but the pain can last as little as six months or as long as 24 to 36 months—until the child’s bones finish growing. Even though this condition usually goes away on its own, immediate treatment is helpful in facilitating the child’s return to activities and avoiding future complications. As your child grows, it is important to be aware of the body changes taking place and to know about this easily treatable condition.

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