Osgood Schlatter Condition

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Skip to the navigation


It is possible that the main title of the report Osgood Schlatter Condition is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Osteochondrosis, Tibial Tubercle
  • Schlatter Disease
  • Osgood-Schlatter's Disease

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Osgood-Schlatter condition (formerly known as Osgood-Schlatter's disease) is a painful condition characterized by tiny, microfractures of the bony bump in the lower leg bone (tibia) where the ligament from the kneecap (patella) is inserted into the tibia. The bump is known as the tibial tubercle. It is a disorder of the early teens, especially during a growth spurt, more likely to affect young men than young women, especially athletes of either sex who are active in games requiring substantial running and/or jumping.

It is a common, transient, short-term disorder, also called an overuse condition, that usually requires only rest and restraint from further strenuous activity for a relatively short period of time before it heals itself.


Osgood-Schlatter condition is characterized by painful, inflamed, swelling at the site of the bump (tubercle) on the bone located between the knee and the ankle (tibia). Pressing on the site makes the pain worse, which eases off as the pressure is reduced. Symptoms are made worse by any exercise or activity that stretches the leg, even contracting the muscles of the thigh against resistance.

The condition affects one leg (unilateral) in about 60% to 75% of the cases. In other cases, it is bilateral (affecting both legs). Osgood-Schlatter condition usually heals itself (self-limiting). Long-term affects are uncommon although there have been some incidences of fractures of the tibia and joint discomfort years after the original diagnosis.


The exact cause of Osgood-Schlatter condition is unknown. There is one school of thought that believes the cause to be the result of many microfractures that are not noticeable but which affect the growth plate behind the bump. The other school of thought believes that the persistent stress of the thigh muscles (quadriceps) pulling on the ligaments at the bump affects the growth plate. Most of the athletes who are affected are young enough for the long bones still to be immature. The immaturity combined with the relentless irritation appears to set off the condition, hence the term an overuse condition.

Affected Populations

Osgood-Schlatter condition occurs more frequently in early adolescent males by a ratio of about 3:1. Boys are usually between the ages of 11 and 13 at onset of the condition. Girls are usually a couple of years older at onset, between 13 and 15.

Standard Therapies


The diagnosis of Osgood-Schlatter's condition may be confirmed by a thorough clinical evaluation an a variety of specialized test particularly advanced imaging techniques. An x-ray examination may reveal a slight separation of the tibial tubercle with new bone formation beneath it.


Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter's condition consists of rest, decreasing activity, and possibly immobilizing the affected leg with a cast. On a few occasions surgery has been used to help some individuals with the condition.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010

Email: prpl@cc.nih.gov

For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:




Beers MH, Berkow R., eds. The Merck Manual, 17th ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 1999:.

Berkow R., ed. The Merck Manual-Home Edition. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 1997:.

Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Arvin AM. Eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 15th ed. W.B. Saunder Company. Philadelphia, PA; 1996.


Adirim TA, Cheng TL. Overview of injuries in the young athlete. Sports Med. 2003;33:75-81.

Duri ZI, Patel DV, Aichroth PM. The immature athlete. Clin Sports Med. 2002;21:461-82.

Blankstein A, Cohen I, Heim M, et al. Ultrasonography as a diagnostic modality in Osgood-Schlatter disease. A clinical study and review of the literature. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2001;121:536-39.

Thomee R, Augustsson J, Karlsson J. Patellofemoral pain syndrome: a review of current issues. Sports Med. 1999;28:245-62.


Hitano A, Fukubayashi T, Ishii T, et al. Magnetic resonance imaging of Osgood-Schlatter disease: the course of the disease. Skeletal Radiol. 2002;31:334-42.

Segawa H, Omori G, Koga Y. Multiple osteochondroses of bilateral knee joints. J Orthop Sci. 2001;6:286-89.

Orava S, Malinen L, Karpakka J, et al. Results of surgical treatment of Osgood-Schlatter lesion. Ann Chir Gynaecol. 2000;89:298-302.

de Inocencio J. Musculoskeletal pain in primary pediatric care: analysis of 1000 consecutive general pediatric clinic visits. Pediatrics. 1998;102:E63.

Nowinski RJ, Mehlman CT. Hyphenated history: Osgood-Schlatter disease. Am J Orthop. 1998;27:584085.


Osgood-Schlatter disease. Your Orthopedic Connection (AAOP). July 2000. 2pp.


Chen AL. Osgood-Schlatter disease. Medical Encyclopedia. MEDLINEplus. Update Date: 2/12/2003. 3pp.


Osgood-Schlatters Disease. William Sport News Susquehanna Health System. Last revised: January 23, 2003. 2pp.


Newfield KB, Kruse RW. Osgood-Schlatters Condition. nd. 2pp.


Osgood-Schlatter's Disease. SportsInjuryClinic. nd. 1p.


Osgood Schlatters Disease. Juvenile News No. 28. April 2003. 3pp.


Osgood-Schlatters. Athletic Advisor. nd. 3pp.



NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Information Clearinghouse

One AMS Circle

Bethesda, MD 20892-3675


Tel: (301)495-4484

Fax: (301)718-6366

Tel: (877)226-4267

TDD: (301)565-2966

Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov

Internet: http://www.niams.nih.gov/

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into myCigna.com. For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html.