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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Osgood-Schlatter is a common knee pain injury experienced by active adolescents. It affects the point where the kneecap and the shinbone connect, causing pain and swelling. It is not really a disease but an overuse injury that can be particularly painful for adolescents participating in sports. Young teenagers, especially boys, who are growing and who play sports involving running, jumping and kicking are usually more affected.

The injury occurs during the teenage growth spurt, which for girls takes place between the ages of 10 and 16 years and for boys between the ages of 11 and 18 years.

Osgood-Schlatter disease also varies from person to person. Symptoms can involve mild pain for some, while for others the impact can be debilitating.  Pain will usually affect one knee but it can sometimes occur in both knees. It may also last for weeks to months and can reoccur until the child has stopped growing.

Causes of Osgood-Schlatter may include:

  • The increase in height during the adolescent growth spurt.
  • Active children, especially those involved in organized sports, are at an increased risk.
  • The gender of the adolescent, since boys are more likely to acquire it than females, but this could be due to more boys being involved in organized sports.

Though it can last throughout the growth spurt of a child, symptoms usually disappear with time. Some options to manage pain can include:

  • Modifying or limiting the activities that cause the pain.
  • Using a heating pad before an activity and icing after the activity.
  • A stretching and strengthening program for the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles.

Most people who experience Osgood-Schlatter are able to continue participating in sports. The best news is that it usually goes away on its own or once the bones have stopped growing.  If you think you are experiencing pain caused by Osgood-Schlatter disease, it is best to consult your physician to determine the most appropriate plan of action.

References Available from the SIRC Collection:

1. de Lucena G, dos Santos Gomes C, Oliveira Guerra R. Prevalence and Associated Factors of Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome in a Population-Based Sample of Brazilian Adolescents. American Journal Of Sports Medicine. February 2011;39(2):415-420.

2. Domingues M. Osgood Schlatter’s disease – A burst in young football players. / EKSPLOZIJA”OSGOOD SCHLATTER” BOLIJESTI KOD MLADIH FUDBALERA. Montenegrin Journal Of Sports Science & Medicine. March 2013;2(1):23-27.

3. Gigante A, Bevilacqua C, Bonetti M, Greco F. Increased external tibial torsion in Osgood-Schlatter disease. Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica. August 2003;74(4):431.

4. Jakovljević A, Grubor P, Simović S, Bijelić S, Maran M, Kalacun D. OSGOOD SCHLATTER’S DISEASE IN YOUNG BASKETBALL PLAYERS. / OSGOOD SCHLATTEROVO OBOLJENJE KOD MLADIH KOŠARKAŠA. Sportlogia. June 2010;6(2):74-80.

5. Kaya D, Toprak U, Baltaci G, Yosmaoglu B, Ozer H. Long-term functional and sonographic outcomes in Osgood-Schlatter disease. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. May 2013;21(5):1131-1139.

6. Pihlajamäki H, Visuri T. Long-Term Outcome After Surgical Treatment of Unresolved Osgood- Schlatter Disease in Young Men. Journal Of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume. September 16, 2010;:258-264.



The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.