Knee Pain in Children: Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common condition of the knee in adolescents. It involves inflammation of the area just below the knee cap, where the tendon (patellar tendon) from the knee cap attaches to the shin bone (tibia). The most common complaint with Osgood-Schlatter disease is pain below the knee cap. Additional signs may be swelling around this area, tenderness with touching over the bone and tight muscles throughout the thigh.


As children grow through adolescence and then in to adulthood, their bodies will grow. Muscles and tendons may grow at different speeds to bone, leading to changes in tension through the body. Osgood-Schlatter disease is common at the time of a child’s growth spurt. Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs from the patellar tendon repetitively pulling on the tibial tubercle.

This in turn causes inflammation which can cause pain and discomfort through this area. In addition an increase in sporting load, participating in high intensity sports or sports that involve a lot of jumping/running (basketball, athletics, netball, soccer) can also increase the risk of osgood schlatter disease.

The good thing about osgood-schlatter disease is that it is self-limiting. This means that with time, the condition should improve and discomfort should reduce.


  • Activity modification is a great way to manage this condition in children. This may mean reducing the amount of sport a child is performing and/or stopping aggravating activities like jumping. Children may still be able to participate in the sports they love, they will just need to modify it to ensure it is pain free for them.
  • Using ice over the knee when it is painful and swollen can provide relief from the discomfort and help with swelling.
  • Ensuring children perform a solid warm-up routine before sport can help with managing Osgood-Schlatter disease.
  • Looking into a child’s foot biomechanics can really make a difference when it comes to managing Osgood-Schlatter disease. They may require new footwear, orthotics, rehabilitation exercises to help improve their foot function.
  • Treatment to help address biomechanical dysfunction through the hip, knee and ankle/foot joints. In addition manual therapy to help decrease the tightness in the muscles around the knee.
  • Specific rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and stretch certain structures to help manage Osgood-Schlatter disease.
  • Taping through the knee can also help with reducing the discomfort associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease.


If you have any questions at all about knee pain in children, please contact us at the clinic.

Dr. Simmone Ortland (osteopath) at Total Balance Healthcare

This blog post is an educational tool only. It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Any other questions not answered here? Get in touch with us!

Phone: 03 97738085

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