Osgood Schlatter Disease: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What is Osgood Schlatters?


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Osgood Schlatter is a disease caused due to painful lump or inflammation of the patellar tendon just below the kneecap. The pain occurs at the front part of knee i.e. the area where tendon attaches to the tibia (shin bone). It is generally cased in young adolescent after a sudden growth spurt and overuse such as in some sports like soccer, basketball, etc. Osgood Schlatter is named after Robert Bayley Osgood (U.S. orthopedist) and Carl Schlatter (Swiss surgeon). They both described this condition back in 1993.

What are Osgood Schlatter’s Symptoms?

The main symptom of Osgood Schlatter disease is a bony lump on the shin bone, which can occur on both legs. The irritation will cause anterior knee pain and the affected area will become tender to pressure. Swelling may be mild to severe in some cases and the skin will become red as well as inflamed. The pain will be felt when straightening the legs, squatting, running, jumping, going up and  down stairs, etc. The pain increases with activity and decreases with rest.

What are Osgood Schlatter’s Causes?osgood-schlatter-symptoms

Osgood Schlatter disease is mostly caused in adolescents aged between 9-16. During this time, children experience sudden growth spurts, which result in irritation and swelling in the front area of knee. It can also causes to some children, who are hyper active and engage in activities that involved jumping, kicking, running, climbing, hoping, etc. Boys are more vulnerable than girls because of active involvement in vigorous sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball and gymnastics. It can also cause due to overuse and repeated injuries to the knee.

Diagnosis of Osgood Schlatter:

Osgood Schlatter is generally diagnosed with physical test and detailed medical history of the patient. Sometimes doctor may conduct additional tests i.e. X-ray and Ultrasound scan in order to discard some other possible causes.

Treatment of Osgood Schlatter:

Once the diagnosis is conducted and accurate cause of the pain is identified, the treatment will start. Some of the common treatment methods aimed at reducing the disease of Osgood Schlatter are:

  • Using the P.R.I.C.E. formula to effectively reduce the pain.
    • Protect: Protecting the affected area is foremost responsibility of the patient in order to avoid any further injury to the knee.
    • Rest: Resting will allow the pain in the knee to settle down naturally for some period of time so that other treatment can be performed to completely cure the problem.
    • Ice: Applying ice packs for 10-20 minutes ever 2-4 hours will reduce pain and swelling on the affected area.
    • Compression: Compressing the affected area after applying ice with elastic or ace wraps will minimize the swelling.
    • Elevation: Elevate the affected part above the level of the heart with the help of pillow because it will help reduce the flow of the blood to the swollen area.
  • Activity Modification: Avoid all the sporting activities that are causing pain for at least couple of weeks. Return to activity should be gradual according to the recovery of the disease. Consult your doctor or physical therapist before starting the activities.
  • Stretching & Exercises: Muscle strengthening exercises for quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles should be performed. However, consult a physical therapist for suitable program which can help in strengthening your muscles.
  • Medication: Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are occasionally prescribed to children. However, some of them are Ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce pain.
  • Knee Straps: Knee straps works great in reducing pain. They should be wore on the patellar tendon and are very easy to use.
  • Gel Pads: These pads are extremely beneficial, while kneeling on the floor because it will provide cushioning sensation to the knee.
  • Plaster Cast: Sometimes, if the pain is severe, then doctor may recommend plaster in order to provide rest to the knee.

Recovery Period for Osgood Schlattersosgood-schlatter-treatment

Osgood Schlatter completely disappears once the child completes the adolescent growth spurt. For boys, the age is around 16 years and for girls, it is 14 years. The pain and swelling may be healed within a few months and children can start activities but
with activity modification and physical therapist advice


Always perform warm-up or stretching exercises before playing sports so that your quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles are loosened. Limit your activities that aid in aggravating pain and once you fully recover, start your activity gradually. Avoid prolonged training session and repetitive activities.

Conclusion – Osgood Schlatters:

Rest is the vital component in recovering from Osgood Schalatter. However, the outlook is good.