Osgood-Schlatter Disease

What is it?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common condition that causes pain at the front of the knee in growing children. 

It most commonly occurs in children who are active and involved in sports that involve lots of running and jumping. However, it can also occur in less active children. It may affect one or both knees.

The repeated activity involved in activities such as running and jumping can cause a repetitive pulling force from the quadriceps (thigh muscle) onto its boney attachment on the tibia (shin bone) just below the knee cap. This can cause inflammation (swelling) and a painful lump at the front of the knee. Pain is usually worse during or just after activity, and eases when the child rests.

Osgood-Schlatter disease can be diagnosed from a clinical examination. Special testes such as X-rays are not usually required.


Who gets it?

Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs more commonly in boys than girls and usually occurs in late childhood and early adolescence.  This is a time when a child is going through a period of rapid growth. During this time a child’s bones are growing quickly and the muscles and tendons also need to change to keep up with the rapid bony growth.

What is the natural history of Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Pain caused by Osgood-Schatter disease stops once a child stops growing. 

Sometimes the bony lump at the front of the knee remains prominent and occasionally may cause discomfort when kneeling.

What is the treatment of Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease is aimed at relieving discomfort and may include rest from an activity, or modification of the activity to relieve symptoms. Ice packs and taping can also help to relieve discomfort. Gentle stretching and strengthening of the lower limb muscles can also help to manage the symptoms associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease.