Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Conditions Basics

What is Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a knee problem that causes pain and swelling in the shinbone (tibia) just below the kneecap (patella). This is the spot where the patellar tendon attaches to a bony mound in the knee called the tibial tubercle.

Older children and teenagers often get Osgood-Schlatter disease during a growth spurt. Certain young athletes, such as runners, gymnasts, and those who play soccer, football, or basketball, are more likely to have this type of knee pain.

This problem can come back while your child is still growing, but it should stop when your child's growth spurt ends. Osgood-Schlatter disease may leave a painless bump on the bone that remains after the problem has gone away.

What causes it?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by too much stress on the muscles and tendons that support the knee. Repeated stress can cause the patellar tendon to pull away from the shinbone. This can make your child's knee hurt and swell. This kind of stress is more likely to happen during a growth spurt, when your child's leg bones are getting longer. Certain activities can also cause this to happen, such as running or sports that involve jumping (like basketball) or quick direction change (like soccer or football).

What are the symptoms?

Osgood-Schlatter disease usually affects only one knee, but it can affect both knees. It may cause pain and tenderness in front of the knee or mild swelling or a bump below the kneecap at the top of the shin. The pain may come and go. It may get worse with activity.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask questions about your child's past health and do a physical exam to find out if your child's pain is caused by Osgood-Schlatter disease or some other problem, such as an injury.

The doctor will feel and move your child's knee as part of the physical exam. The doctor will look at the knee and check for tenderness, range of motion, and how stable the knee is. The doctor may check both knees even if only one hurts.

X-rays usually aren't done to diagnose Osgood-Schlatter disease, but they may be done to rule out other causes of knee pain.

How is Osgood-Schlatter disease treated?

Osgood-Schlatter disease doesn't require medical treatment. Your doctor can suggest home care to help relieve symptoms. A doctor or physical therapist can teach your child exercises to help stretch and strengthen the leg muscles that support the knee. Surgery is rarely recommended.

How can you care for your child?

  • When your child has pain, rest the sore leg.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the knee for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Let your child play sports and be active. This will not cause any long-term problems. If your child plays a sport with a lot of squatting or kneeling, they may have too much pain. Help them find a different position on the team or try a different sport until their pain is better.
  • Have your child wear knee pads or patellar straps when playing sports or doing activities that put pressure on the knee.
  • Have your child do simple stretches. This will help keep your child's legs flexible. Here are two that may help.
    • Quadriceps stretch: Your child lies on their side with one hand supporting the head. Your child bends the upper leg back and grabs the ankle with the hand. Then your child stretches the leg back. Hold the stretch at least 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times. Then your child should change sides and stretch the other leg.
    • Hamstring stretch: Your child sits on the floor with the right leg extended out straight, the knee slightly bent, and the toes pointing toward the head. Your child bends the left leg so that the left foot is next to the inside of the right thigh. Your child leans forward from the hips, and reaches for the right ankle. Your child should not try to touch their forehead to the knee. Hold the stretch at least 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times. Then your child should change sides and stretch the other leg.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Knee Problems and Injuries

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna


Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

The Cigna Group Information

About Cigna Healthcare Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers The Cigna Group Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap Cookie Settings


Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details