Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease: Overview

Osgood-Schlatter Disease (OSD) is an inflammation where the tendon from the patella (kneecap) attaches to the tibia (shin bone).  Preteens and young teens are particularly susceptible to stresses in this area, because the bone is growing rapidly at this age.  Any activity can cause OSD, but it's more common following activities that involve a lot of jumping and cutting, like basketball, volleyball, soccer, figure skating and gymnastics.

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The patellar tendon is sometimes strained and partially torn from the bone by the powerful quadriceps muscles.  This tearing, called avulsion, may be extremely painful and is sometimes disabling.  It may occur in one or both knees.  The knee is usually tender to pressure at the point where the large tendon from the kneecap attaches to the prominence below, creating the typical symptom of pain in the front of the shin about 2 to 3 inches below the kneecap.  There may also be swelling in the area, especially if the condition has been present for several months.  Symptoms can range from mild knee pain only during sports to constant pain that makes participation impossible.

Treatment and Prevention

The following stretches for the quadriceps and hamstrings may relieve some of the pain and allow continuation of sports activities.  Hold each stretch for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times for each leg, 2 to 3 times per day.  Stop after 7-10 days, whether there is improvement or not.

Quadriceps stretch. To stretch the quadriceps (the muscles in front of the thigh), lie stomach down and bend one knee.  Using the hand on the same side as the bent knee, reach back and grab your ankle.  Pull the foot downward until the heel is touching your buttock, if possible.

Hamstring stretch. The "hurdler's stretch" works the hamstrings (in back of the thigh).  Sit with one leg straight out in front and the other leg bent, and lean forward, keeping the knee straight.  Try to lean from your hips and keep your back fairly straight.  You'll feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.

Two of the most powerful anti-inflammatory remedies you can use are Bromelain – an enzyme derived from fresh pineapple juice and Boswellia – a herbal resin extracted from the gum of the Indian Boswellia serrata tree.  Bromelain is available on its own but is also now starting to be incorporated into adult joint formulations.


About 60% of adults who once experienced OSD have some pain with kneeling when they are adults.

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Osgood-Schlatter Disease:

Recommendations for Osgood-Schlatter Disease:


Physical Medicine

Hot Applications (Thermotherapy)

If your pain is mild, you can probably continue to participate in your sport.  Using a heating pad or warm, moist compresses at the site for 15 minutes before activity and/or using ice for 20 minutes after activity may help.

Physical Supports and Devices

If symptoms are severe, treatment may include taking a break from sports or wearing a plaster cast or brace.


Vitamin E

400 I.U. bid of vitamin E along with selenium at 200mcg per day has proven beneficial against Osgood-Schlatter disease.  Vitamin E can be applied topically along with DMSO.  This can also be used for growing pains in the legs, inside or around the shins. [Marz, p.186, 1997]

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