Anterior Knee Pain in Athletes: Osgood Schlatter Disease

Anterior knee pain is a common affliction in people of all ages and particularly athletes, who are more prone to injury from repetitive motions such as jumping, quickly changing directions, and bending the knee. This is the first in a series of posts that will examine some common causes of anterior knee pain. Each post will describe causes, symptoms and treatment. In this first post we will examine Osgood Schlatter disease.

Osgood Schlatter disease is a very common cause of knee pain typically occurring in young athletes usually between the ages of 10 and 16. It can occur when growth spurts are combined with a high level of activity. Osgood Schlatter disease is characterized by pain on the tibial tuberosity (just below the knee) where the patellar tendon attaches. Swelling may occur, and pain is usually worse after exercising or while exercising.

This condition develops when the patellar tendon pulls away at the tibial tuberosity due to overuse. In severe cases where repeated damage occurs, a bony lump can develop at the site where the tendon attaches; the condition may even persist into adulthood.

Treatment may include prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, icing the inflamed area and resting from activity. In cases of severe pain, x-rays may be taken to see how much damage has occurred and a cast may be required. Symptoms typically disappear once the growth spurt is completed but it’s essential that young athletes listen to the instruction of their physician and allow their knees to fully heal before rejoining competition.


Reference: OrthInfo; “Osgood-Schlatter Disease (Knee Pain)”; August, 2007;

Reference:; “Osgood-Schlatters Disease”;