Osgood-Schlatter's Disease of the Knee

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a condition that is common in adolescents. It is most often seen during the time of growth spurts. During these times the muscles and cord like structures which attach muscle to bone (tendons) are becoming tighter as the bones are becoming longer. This puts more strain on areas of tendon attachment. The condition is soreness (inflammation) of the lump on the upper leg below the kneecap (tibial tubercle). There is pain and tenderness in this area because of the inflammation. In addition to growth spurts, it also comes on with physical activities involving running and jumping.

This is a self-limited condition. It can get well by itself in time with conservative measures and less physical activities. It can persist up to two years.


The diagnosis is made by physical examination alone. X-rays are sometimes needed to rule out other problems.

Home Care Instructions

  • Apply ice packs to the areas of pain every 1-2 hours for 20 to 30 minutes while awake. Do this for 2 days or as directed.
  • Limit physical activities to levels that do not cause pain.
  • Do stretching exercises for the legs and especially the large muscles in the front of the thigh (quadriceps). Avoid quadriceps strengthening exercises.
  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.
  • Usually steroid injection or surgery is not necessary. Surgery if rarely needed if the condition persists into young adulthood.
  • See your caregiver if you develop increased pain or swelling in the area. Also if you have pain with movement of the knee, develop a temperature, or have more pain or problems that originally brought you in for care.

Recheck with the hospital or clinic if x-rays were taken. After a radiologist (a specialist in reading X-rays) has read your x-rays, make sure there is agreement with the initial readings. Find out if more studies are needed. Ask your caregiver how you are to learn about your radiology (X-ray) results. Remember it is your responsibility to obtain the results of your X-rays.

Make Sure You

  • Understand these instructions
  • Will watch your condition
  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse

For more information about Osgood-Schlatter's disease of the knee, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).