Osgood-Schlatter Disease / OSD / apophysitis of the tibial tubercle

Osgood-Schlatter disease involves uncontrolled growth of the tibial tuberosity. This is the bump at the front of the shin bone, just below the knee. You could think of Osgood-Schlatter disease as an over-exertion injury of the knee during growth.

knee osgood schlatter pain patella tendon

Osgood-Schlatter disease is particularly common in boys between the ages of 10 and 16 years, when they are experiencing a growth spurt and playing sports. It is slightly less common in girls and presents between the ages of 8 to 12 years.

Description of the condition

The attachment of the patellar tendon to the lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed. This causes pain at the attachment site of the patellar tendon to the tibial tuberosity. This is the hard bump located directly below the knee on the front of the leg. After several months, this is often accompanied by the formation of excess bone tissue at this site.

Cause and origin

The pain symptoms can occur suddenly or develop gradually and are often present to varying degrees. The pain is caused by continuous tension from the patellar tendon on the developing tibial tuberosity.

Signs & symptoms

A visible bump develops below the knee, which is sensitive and warm to the touch. Symptoms occur mainly during and after sports that involve a lot of running, jumping or kneeling. This exerts large forces on the patellar tendon. The bump is painful when you press it. Fluid accumulation can sometimes occur.


The diagnosis is made by the orthopaedic surgeon or the physiotherapist. X-ray examination can support the diagnosis, but does not provide 100 % certainty.


Osgood-Schlatter disease is difficult to treat. The symptoms are associated with growth and will - in many cases - only disappear altogether once the child has stopped growing.


You can check your symptoms using the online physiotherapy check or make an appointment with a physiotherapy practice in your area.

knee osgood schlatter x-ray

Brukner, P. & Khan, K. (2010). Clinical sports medicine. McGraw-Hill: Australia. 3e druk.
Nugteren, K. van & Winkel, D. (2010). Onderzoek en behandeling van anterieure kniepijn. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.
Verhaar, J.A.N. & Linden, A.J. van der (2005). Orthopedie. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.

knee osgood schlatter pain patella tendon
knee osgood schlatter x-ray

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