My Cart


Reusable Heat & Ice Wraps | Ice Packs Designed by Physical Therapy Professionals Since 1997

What is Osgood-Schlatters Disease (OSD) or Growing Pains in Active Children?

Posted on August 07 2023

Understanding Osgood-Schlatter's Disease and Growing Pains in Active Children


As children grow and engage in physical activities, they might experience discomfort in their knees, often labeled as "growing pains." One specific condition associated with these pains is Osgood-Schlatter's disease. In this article, we'll delve into what Osgood-Schlatter's disease is, its prevalence, sports with a higher diagnosis rate, and practical ways to prevent and treat the pain.

What is Osgood-Schlatter's Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter's disease (Anterior Tibial Apophysitis), commonly referred to as growing pains, is a condition characterized by inflammation and pain at the point where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia, the larger bone in the lower leg. This painful condition is most commonly observed in active children and adolescents, especially during growth spurts when bones are growing faster than muscles and tendons, leading to increased stress on the knee joint.

Osgood Schallater's, Growing Pains, Bump under knee cap in kids

Prevalence and Common Age Groups

Osgood-Schlatter's disease is most prevalent in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 16 years old. During this period, the growth plates at the end of the bones are not yet fully developed, making them susceptible to irritation and inflammation. While it is relatively common, affecting around one in five young athletes, it is essential to distinguish Osgood-Schlatter's disease from other knee-related issues, as the treatment approaches may differ.

Sports with Higher Diagnosis Rates for OSD

Although Osgood-Schlatter's disease can occur in any active child, certain sports and physical activities are more commonly associated with a higher rate of diagnosis. Sports that involve repetitive jumping, running, and quick changes in direction put significant stress on the knee joint and patellar tendon, potentially leading to Osgood-Schlatter's disease. Some of the sports with a higher diagnosis rate include:

  1. Soccer
  2. Basketball
  3. Volleyball
  4. Gymnastics
  5. Track and Field (especially high jump and long jump)

Preventing Osgood-Schlatter's Pain

While growing pains are challenging to avoid entirely, certain measures can help reduce the risk of Osgood-Schlatter's disease and alleviate discomfort:

  1. Warm-up: Encourage children to perform dynamic warm-up exercises before engaging in physical activities. Warm muscles are more flexible and less prone to injury.

  2. Proper Technique: Emphasize the importance of using proper techniques and form during sports and exercises. This ensures that stress is distributed evenly across the body, reducing the strain on the knee joint.

  3. Gradual Progression: Avoid sudden increases in training intensity or duration. Gradual progression allows the body to adapt and minimizes the risk of overuse injuries.

  4. Rest and Recovery: Ensure that children have adequate rest periods between intense physical activities to allow their bodies to recover.

  5. Protective Gear: In high-impact sports, consider using appropriate protective gear, such as knee pads, to minimize the risk of injury.

Treating Osgood-Schlatter's Pain

If a child experiences knee pain consistent with Osgood-Schlatter's disease, the following approaches can help manage the discomfort:

  1. Rest and Elevation can help reduce swelling.

  2. Pain Relief: Knee Ice Wraps with compression are easy natural pain relief, over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can also be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional to manage pain and inflammation.

  3. Activity Modification: Temporarily reducing or modifying physical activities can alleviate stress on the knee and aid in recovery.

  4. Physical Therapy: A qualified physical therapist can guide children through targeted exercises to strengthen muscles around the knee and improve flexibility.

  5. Patellar Taping: Techniques such as McConnell taping by a PT, In some cases, patellar straps or braces may be recommended to provide additional support and stability to the knee.


Osgood-Schlatter's disease, commonly known as growing pains, can be a source of discomfort for active children and adolescents. Understanding the condition, its prevalence, and potential risk factors, such as specific sports, is crucial for parents, coaches, and young athletes. By implementing preventive measures and seeking appropriate treatment, children can continue enjoying their physical activities with reduced pain and improved overall well-being. Remember, if a child experiences persistent or severe knee pain, consulting a healthcare professional is always the best course of action.