Bodyworks: Osgood-Schlatter's Disease

How to recognise it, how to overcome it

by Patrick Milroy

Osteochondritis is an inflammation of developing bone in children, in which an area becomes softened and deformed in the lower limbs or back. Osgood-Schlatter’s disease is a form of this which occurs at the upper front of the tibia (shin bone), where the patellar tendon from the knee joins it.

You are probably aged between 10 and 14, play a variety of sports, and have developed a painful bony swelling below the knee. It will hurt with strenuous activity, particularly when you kick a ball or contract the quadriceps muscle, to which it is connected through the kneecap.

It’s easy to confirm the swelling of the tibial tubercle, and your doctor will ensure that the joint is not involved.

Medical investigations
Many experienced doctors do not now bother to x-ray the area, as the disorder is easy to identify and ultimately heals itself.

What else could it be?
Infections and tumours affecting the same spot are so rare that they can be discounted. Nothing else will produce a similar swelling at this site.

Rest from painful activity, accompanied by ice packs and ibuprofen after exercise, should provide you with relief. You shouldn’t take medication prior to exercise, though, as it could mask a worsening situation.

Medical treatment
If you get no relief, your doctor may very occasionally inject steroid, or even immobilise the leg in plaster. Physiotherapy to ease the pain should not be used as a cover to increase training.

Can you run through it?/ Recovery time
Although full recovery can take years, this is unusual, and time away from sport is more usually measured in months. Many youngsters will surreptitiously continue to exercise through the pain, and while this isn’t to be applauded, you can’t blame them, as they inevitably make a full recovery…

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Discuss this article

Does anyone out there no of a cure for osgood schlatters disease? iv had it for a while and its causing a stop to my running. is there anythink i can do? doctors say rest for 3 months but thats rediculus!! anyone...?
Posted: 10/12/2002 at 21:16

Hi Tom
As you have probably been told already OSD tends to improve with time and most treatments are aimed at easing the symptoms while the body heals itself.
I'm sure you are already using ice, an elastic support and an appropriate anti-inflamatory preparation.
The next step is to discuss with your GP or physio. Strengthening the quad muscles seems to help (helps most knee conditions) and a physio may be able to show you some taping techniques that allow some exercise.
If that doesn't work ask your GP about an orthopaedic or sports medicine referral. Some specialists recommend wearing a plaster cast for 6 weeks to allow the inflamed area to heal. Some surgeons will operate on the tubercle but this depends on the x-ray findings and how long you've had the problem.
I think the operation is more common in the USA but then most ops are.

Sticking Osgood-schlatter into google will bring up about 8000 pages so there is plenty of info out there.
looks reasonable.

Good luck with it.
Posted: 11/12/2002 at 09:26

How old you Tom?
True Osgood-Schlatters usually affects growing adolescent boys. Consensus now for this condition seems to be infact not to rest,
Jumping and sudden stops may aggrevate symptoms, other activities ok.

You might have pain in the area where people with Osgood Schlatters also hurt, but for a different reason.

I would press for Xray, physio, and early referral to sports specialist (er if at all possible)
Posted: 11/12/2002 at 12:48

I had OSD as a boy at Secondary school and I was not allowed to kick a ball or anything for weeks and weeks. I had it to the point that my knees would completely give way if I stepped off a kerb wrongly. My knees recovered OK but I now have a nice lump beow each knee-cap as a souvenir. Things change and I would (as advised) get some specialist advice. But be sure, if that advice is rest, then please rest. It seems like an eternity but don't wreck your knees for the sake of a few weeks.
Posted: 11/12/2002 at 22:44

I support view above that is usually found in adolescent males.
My be patellar tendonitid/other condition you have. As other docs as said rest/ice are key steps really.
Seek an expert opinion depending on how keen you are to rest few weeks and see !
Posted: 12/12/2002 at 14:08

just seen this thread. my son has recently been diagnosed and a specialist told us if it gets too painful just rest. otherwise keep going. nothing else to be done. he was x rayed. problem is he plays in a successful rugby team (well as sucessful as a team can be in Scotland) his mum had it at the same age and was in a plaster for 6 weeks and it cured it. recent ideas seem not to favour this type of sction.
Posted: 11/02/2004 at 14:22

Oops - I had it as a teenager and so has my daughter (aged 9)

Really severe with her

HARD SURFACES are a KILLER - try grass etc

MiniSS has found Ice not good - makes it much worse - which sort of makes sense as its caused by the tendons not growing fast enough and pulling off the bone attachment - so need to increase blood flow to the tendons (which have poor blood supply) - hot water bottle at night better!
Posted: 11/02/2004 at 17:48

My Boy of 13 years hads Osgood schatters, and we tok him to see Clifton Bradeley, the 'Running Podiatrist'. He used to run internationally and loads of runners recommended him. I found him in the back of Runners World magazine. Daniel is now ok after three months of treatment.

Posted: 11/02/2004 at 18:19

Beany 2 - what sort of treatment ? My physio said it couldn't be treated ..(mind you I don't rate physios as a 'breed'!)
Posted: 11/02/2004 at 18:24

I suffered with this as a teenager (about 15/16 I guess) and had a treatment which fixed it completely within a few days. Injections of Cortisone, directly into the knee (I kid you not...) was quite painful, but well worth it !
Posted: 03/03/2004 at 16:17

I was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters Disease when I was 17 years old. I have tried everything from Physio, to Chrio, to Acupuncture, to Massage. I've also tried supplements. I'm now 20. I joined the College running team when I was 17 & was running up to 30Km a week. I did this for a year, and had to quit because of the pain. I took it easy for a couple years, and tryed running short distances the last couple months. I thought this would of healed by now? How long will I have to put up with this? I've been told by everyone I'll grow out of it. Will I ever be able to run again? Can I have surgury to fix this? (I have a fair sized bump just below the knee) which I'm afraid of getting bigger. Does anyone have the answer?
Posted: 04/03/2004 at 00:39

I was about 11 years old when I was Diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters Disease, although I suspect I've had it much long. I'm 23 now and still have problems with my knees. From the ages of 11 - 15 i was monitored closley by the school doctor as I had a growing spurt that caused concern. I'm 6'5" now and well built but my knees still cause me pain, usually when i contract my quads. People say to me "you'll gorw out of it" or "just ignore it" but the fact is it damn well hurts like hell somedays. Ive been on painkillers, used ice packs, had cortisone injections (which i nearly whacked the doctor for, it felt as if he put the needle through my knee cap) but none have helped. I am soon to begin my instructors traning for a community self defence club. I was lucky to find this club as unlike most martial arts it allows anyone to take part regardless of any physical problems. This club has helped me alot as over the last 5 years of traning i have been able to slowly and safely increase my muscles strength around my knee and thus allowing my knee to take more weight without pain.

The follow are the things i do to keep the pain at minimum level.

Try to sleep with the leg stretched fully out, if i was to bend a leg i lie on my side where the bed can support the shifting weight.

Never sit in the back of a car where you can't strech the leg out. Sitting like this for 2 hours on a long trip and then standing up just causes my knee to collapse.

I was told by my doctor to keep up my diary products intake for the calcium. This actually seems to work as if i have periods of not eat or drinking diary products the pain seems to get worse.

Everyday try to get in some light form of excersie, for example walking the dog, just something to keep the knee going. I find that if i sit around all day the next day I pay for it.

Light streching of the leg muscles seems to help too. As my flexibilty has increased i have found the pulling pain on my knee joint has decreased.
Posted: 21/03/2005 at 13:16

i also suffered from this when i was about 16 and was awfully painful. I did grow out of it though and still have the lump to prove it, makes life hard when kneeling but works ok for running.
When i went to the doctors about it years ago, they told me an old fashioned cure was to whack it with the bible and all would go away!!!! Don't recommend you try this though!

Posted: 21/03/2005 at 18:57

Hello all. I can remember having this very painful bump under my knee and in the 4/5 grades not being able to kneel down very well in gym class. Nothing was ever done and when I was 15 or so, noticed that my father had a bump on each knee and asked him if his were painful? Well at some point in his life he learned to kneel on the upper part of his knee and I tried and am not able to do this. My younger brother has a bump on his knee and his is painful, he is 26. My fathers brother, my uncle has one bump. I don't know if my grandfather had one but is this something that runs in families??
When I was in my middle 20's or so I went to a doctor about the pain in my knee and he had the nerve to tell me that I got this bump from "scrubbing floors" that is was called "Old Maids Knee". Can you believe this??? When was the name OSD given to this condition?? I'm now in my late 30's and have many problems with my knee. Oh yeah, I am a girl and I have never seen anyone other than my family members with this condition, good to see it's not just my family, although I don't wish the pain on any other people. Thanks for any info
Posted: 18/05/2005 at 06:01

Had it at school, got me off PE for a term. Now 44 and right knee running on borrowed time, left is fine, or seems so.

I ignored it as it didn't hurt but was not remotely sporty.

Doesn't help you now, but unless I am unusual, assume no long term effects which may help your future, anyway.

Good luck.
Posted: 18/05/2005 at 17:20

I was Diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters Disease when I was 11years and thought I was very lucky not to do PE for most of my school days. They were going to plaster my legs up but my mum wouldn't let them. bless!!
I now have two lovely lumps on my knees, which I can say have given me pain most of my life I'm now 43. I have an active life climbing, skiing, cycling and just started running after 30years. Typing this today I'm think I must be mad... but I will see how I go.
It just takes a little longer to recover. I still don't think there is anything they can do... but rest. One site said the lumps needed to be knocked off, but I think this is only for cosmetic reasons.

Sorry Gavin I think we have this for life!!
Good Luck
Posted: 19/05/2005 at 13:18

Are these the lumps about 2-3 inches below the centre of the kneecap?
Posted: 19/05/2005 at 14:15

Yes they are... makes it a nightmare to kneel
Posted: 19/05/2005 at 18:01

Well I never! I was diagnosed with OSD in junior school and have had funny lumps ever since but never put the two together! I thought I was just odd (well I am, but for other reaons). I spent most of a year being excused PE and swimming and being allowed to sit on chairs while classmates sat on floor. Seems to have worked though as I never have any real probs with knees. Get a bit sore from time to time along with rest of body but I'm sure that's called getting olderitis.
Posted: 19/05/2005 at 20:19

Coo, well I never, wondered why I hated kneeling. I remember feeling a bit cool at school coz I had a disease named after Peter Osgood.
Posted: 19/05/2005 at 21:45

At the age of 13, I got kicked below the left knee playing football. One month later, the swelling had developed into a hard lump two inches below my knee. My doctor diagnosed it as OSD and then arranged for my whole left leg to be immobilised (He called it a Robert Jones bandage!). After 6 weeks, they checked the lump and it had softened slightly, so decided to continue for a further 6 weeks. After the 12 weeks, the lump was still there and my doctor wanted to continue with the immobilisation, but I refused. He told me that it would probably stay like that for the rest of my life, but should give me any problems in older age.

25 years later, I still have the hard lump below my knee and I have got used to kneeling on it. I have been running for nearly 12 months now and it has not given me any problems at all.
Posted: 29/06/2005 at 21:56

I really suggest you have a look at the PattStrap for OSD.
Posted: 29/06/2005 at 23:32

hello i am a female runner of 21 and i have had osd since i was 8. my doctor has said there is nothing they can do. just rest,which i did for nearl four years from PE at school. but nothing happened. no brace nothing not even painkillers.i have taken up swimming instead. but do do some running still.any suggetions of how i can esae the and heat and tens mach don't work

Posted: 21/02/2007 at 21:05

Hello i am a 14 year old boy from australia and i love to play aussie rules footy. in grade 6 i was diagnosed with osgood schlatters disease. now i am in year 9 and still have it pretty bad. the doctors just tell me to rest but it hasnt worked is there anything else i can do to get rid of it
Posted: 09/03/2007 at 11:02

Cho pat Dual action patellar strap - available from
Posted: 09/03/2007 at 13:44

hello am 17 year old and i play a lot o football for my college team. i have beeeen suffering from osd for a while now and it really hurts when i train. is there anything i can do to get rid of it as quickly as possibly because the new season starts in 14 weeks and i would like to be in better condition by then. any good tips to getting rid off this thing! thanks
Posted: 19/06/2007 at 14:50

my son had os at about 14. he undertook a programme of stretching, under physio guidance, for weeks and weeks, usually twice a day if i remember correctly. there was a good conclusion for him and as a consequence, for a 17 year old boy he is now extremely flexible. hope this helps josh.
Posted: 20/06/2007 at 10:51

I had OSD (still got the lumps to prove it!).

Must have started at around 9 years old gradually worsening, I used to play football at county level but had to stop all sports except swimming at 11 on the advice of an orthopedic surgeon. did no sport for almost 3 years which was difficult for a very active kid.

at 14 the pain stopped almost completly, but I also stopped growing. so maybe OSD is growth related?

anyway before becoming a fat bloke I used to run 70mpw, and have been upto around 120... and my knees have always been fine. they're still quite painfull to kneel on but I can't remember any pain coming from my OSD since the age of about 14/15.(nearly 20 years).
Posted: 21/06/2007 at 08:25

My case of OSD and what the doctors say is quite odd.

I got it when I was 11 years old, knocking on peoples doors and running away from very pissed off people. One day, I was running and stopped myself from falling by sticking my right leg out. As a result, I sprained my knee, and after that I was diagnosed with OSD by some kind of bone specialist (ortheropaedian or something). I was told that I could continue running, since I used to and still do a lot of long distance running, but if there is any pain, I should stop. I was also told that the same thing could happen to my left leg.

I had to live with the pain at first, intense pain whilst playing football, kneeling on hard surfaces and so on, but about a year ago (now I'm 16), all this pain somehow went away. I know this is bad, but I even smash my knee against walls in my house and it feels quite fine, but I still have the humoungous lump and random pains.

3 years after I was diagnosed, I went back to my GP to ask for another X-ray. He went along with the plan, and when I returned HE SAID IT WAS DIAGNOSED AS A SLIGHT FRAGMENTATION!!! Then I went back 6 months later and he did not seem to have a clue so went along with the original OSD diagnosis.

Also, I seem to have this problem where my lower leg is a bit more outwards than my upper leg, so it seems as though my legs are bent. I was never like this until I was about 10ish. Can someone tell me what's wrong with my leg???

And one more thing. I speak on behalf of all us kids who enjoyed annoying the hell out of people by knocking on their doors and running off, sorry. I think I've been punished by god for this.

Posted: 26/10/2007 at 00:26

Ab, it's called "Knock down Ginger", gingers revenge then!

Good news peeps, 46.5 years old, knees intact, the right is beginning to niggle and discomfort creeping in. Lumps still there. Kneeling is big pain and brings tears to my eyes.

Running has helped enormously, before I started 3-4 years ago, I was just about beginning to limp a bit. The muscles have now strengthened to compensate. Providing I keep going, no pain. 3 weeks off (when I had salmonella) and I walk like Dr House. takes a month to get back to normal.

So don't worry too much! 

Posted: 26/10/2007 at 00:41


I am from Bulgaria, and i want to share my osgood schlatters disease problem with you friends.

Now i am 33 years old, and i still have this problem since i was 14.

I was a football player and after my knee injury i just stopped.

I readed that after a couples of months or even a year my condition should be get better, but unfortunately i have no any progress with that.

I usin ice on my bones all the time, in the past i was taken a pills- OSSOPAN.

After my graduation i was in the ARMY, and there the paine was too much for me, because of the runnings and so on. But i survived with a lot of paine allmost 2 years.

And now i have no improvment with my knees - for a 10 years i do not practice any kind of sports.

If someone nows any solvation on my problem please let me know ( even a surgery).


Posted: 30/11/2007 at 10:12

The pattstrap works well for Osgood-Schlatter's Disease

 Here are some articles:
Osgood Schlatter Knee Brace
Osgood Schlatter Disease

Posted: 30/11/2007 at 23:49

i had three classmates in high school with osgood schlatters. two decided to take the docs advice and rest. they recovered. the third, an avid basketball player played through the pain. the pain persisted and now at the age of 23 he underwent surgery. so just be patient and rest the leg.......3 months compared to 10 years isnt much
Posted: 20/09/2008 at 08:14

hf - I think you'll find that the original post was made 6 years ago!
Posted: 20/09/2008 at 09:50

dude i have no cure for it but i have it as well and iv had it for about atleast a year maby more and i would like to get rid of it, but the problem is i do free running or if you like parkour so hay, i normally just ignore it im quite tolrant to pain but some times can get very pissed off at the never ending pain!

if u want to email me back because i dont ever go on this site so justr email me

Posted: 08/12/2009 at 21:50

I've got a lump under one knee, which I've had since I was a teenager.  I saw a physio about something else when i was 24, and he said it looked like I'd had Osgood-Schlatter.   I used to find kneeling very painful, and the lump itself used to be sore, but I haven't had any real pain from it for years and years now (I'm 41) so I must have grown out of it.
Posted: 09/12/2009 at 20:34

hi i have had osd for about 3 years now and i am 14 years old.

i have recently developed severe ocification[calcium deposit] in the joint. most of the doctores my parents have consulted feel that this is what is causing the pain. one of the doctors says removing the ocicle with surgery will mostly cure my pain whereas others are reluctant to operate due to the risk of damging the growth plate, meaning the front of my knee will stopr grwing. 

do you think we should go ahead for the operation/? 

Posted: 28/12/2009 at 12:33

I have a lump under my Rt knee cap. I assumed I got it from kneeling down next to infant sized desks all day (teacher!). I asked the doc when last in, and he said it was due to OSD as a teenager. Strange thing is I have NO recollection of this at all. The biggest pain is the itch as the lump has a nice patch of very dry, flaky skin, the kind you love to scratch 'till it bleeds!

Anyway, I think docs are best placed for advice on operations. I would hate for anyone to give such advice based on a few lines in a forum. I would, however, ask lots of questions based on the long term view of the options as some may have more severe implications for athletic life than others. Tough call at 14 - good luck with whatever you decide.

Now for one last scratch before a dollop of E45 cream.....
Posted: 28/12/2009 at 23:06

i am 13 years old. i had it when i was in the soccer team of my school i was to be the next in line in the greatest goalkeeper in my school. i was told that i was the fastest boy in school .i left my career and continued my life with my teamates looking back at me.
Posted: 14/01/2010 at 13:36

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