Sports Chiropractor Osgood Schlatter Disease

Sports Chiropractic For Osgood Schlatter Disease

Sports chiropractors are highly skilled practitioners that assess, diagnose and treat Osgood Schlatter Disease (OSD). Sports chiropractors will provide you with both hands on treatments and rehab exercises to achieve the following goals.

  • Reduce your knee symptoms (pain)
  • Improve your knee function (what you can do)
  • Educate you on how to help yourself (self management)

One of our sports chiropractors Chris Knee will talk about Osgood Schlatter Disease.

What is Osgood Schlatter Disease?

Osgood Schlatter Disease is a condition that affects children’s knees. It occurs in children when their knees are still developing. It is better thought of as a process rather than a disease. It is a process that involves inflammation of the shinbone (tibial tuberosity) and the main tendon of the kneecap (patella tendon). The technical term for this process (condition) is called a traction apophysitis.

Tendons attach to bones. A traction apophysitis occurs when a tendon pulls on the bone too much. This constant pulling causes inflammation. These types of issues can happen all around the body. See the above image for a nice illustration of Osgood Schlatter Disease.

There are three (3) stages to Osgood Schlatter Disease.

  • Early stage – swelling, inflammation around the shinbone (tibial tuberosity)
  • Progressive stage – high pain levels, inflammation of the shinbone (apophysitis).
  • Terminal stage – the bone is pulled away from where it normally sits (avulsion) – This makes it feel like a big lump.

How does Osgood Schlatter Disease occur?

Osgood Schlatter Disease is caused by too much pulling of a tendon on the bone. Generally speaking this can be

  • Activity related. Overuse when a child plays sport frequently. This will generally be a sport that requires large contractions of the quadriceps muscle such as jumping and running.
  • Structure related. Changes in the knee structures as a child grows (growth spurts) can predispose to this condition.

Who is affected?

Osgood Schlatter disease occurs in children. It is most common in males between 10-15 years and most common in females between 8-13 years.

It is more common in males compared to females with data suggesting a 3:1 to 7:1 ratio.

Approximately 20-30% of individuals will get Osgood Schlatter on both sides of the knee at once.

Does Osgood Schlatter Disease heal?

Individual with Osgood Schlatter Disease should expect a full recovery. Your sports chiropractor should educate you on the three stages of the condition as described above.

Generally speaking, you may need to have 6-8 weeks off sport while the condition settles down however this will be based on your pain and how far along the course of the condition you are (your individual case).

A lot of individuals will have recurrent symptoms for 1-2 years before their knees are fully grown (achieve skeletal maturity) and then all symptoms should reduce.

In some cases surgery is suggested for recalcitrant cases and generally have excellent outcomes.

How do sports chiropractors treat Osgood Schlatter Disease?

  • Patient education is very important – Your sports chiropractor will let you know what stage in the condition you are, and what to do about it.
  • Load management – your sports chiropractor will need to control how much you do, so you irritate the area as little as possible to improve healing.
  • Stretching exercises are important.
  • Progressive strengthening exercises of the legs are important under the management of your sports chiropractor.
  • Hands on treatments such as deep tissue massage and other soft tissue therapies if relevant.
  • Strapping and bracing are used if relevant.
  • Heat and ice treatments are used if relevant.


Chris Knee

Chris is a chiropractor, sports chiropractor, McKenzie Credentialed practitioner, nutritionist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Chris studied the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University from 2016-2019. He is now finishing his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree to become a medical doctor.