Knee Pain in Teenagers, What To Do?

Knee, Blog, / By Winsen Citra

Do you have a child who has just recently had a growth spurt and is now complaining of knee pain at the front of the knee?  This is a very common problem that a lot of my patient’s kids face. It is especially common in kids who are active in sports. There is a name for this condition and it is called Osgood Schlatter’s Disease. So what is Osgood Schlatter’s Disease (OSD)? How do we treat it?

Osgood Schlatter’s Knee Pain

OSD is an inflammation at the patellar tendon where it attaches at the shin bone.Tightness in the quadriceps muscles causes repeated pulling in the patellar attachment. This, in turn, causes the attachment site to be inflamed and swollen. What this manifests as is knee pain in the front of the knee, just below the knee cap, with an accompanying bump which is tender to touch.

The knee pain can last up to months if not properly cared for and may even result in what is known as an avulsion fracture.

Osgood Schlatter's Disease
Inflammed paterllar tendon


OSD is usually caused by recent growth spurts. Bones usually grow at a faster rate than the muscles, so sudden increase in height may cause the muscles to lag behind and become to tight. This is what we think is the main cause of OSD. As such, we see this disease to be most common in teenagers between age 10-16. After growth slows, typically age 16 in boys and 14 in girls, the pain will no longer occur despite a bump potentially remaining.

Other causes include:

  • Overuse in sports such as running and jumping
  •  Pain is usually worse with other activities that stresses the knee such as climbing stairs or squatting

What To Do?

OSD usually resolves itself with time. Rest and icing over the area of the pain is recommended to control the inflammation as we wait for the problem to resolve. If the pain is very intense, you should visit a doctor in order to get your child assessed and see if the condition has progressed as a surgery may be indicated. Some anti-inflammatory can also help.

A visit to a physiotherapist is usually recommended as physiotherapy is very effective in treating OSD. Some treatments include stretching to the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings. Some strengthening exercises can also help in managing the condition.

We hope that this article has been useful to you. Below is a video of our therapist demonstrating a couple of ways to stretch the quadriceps muscles. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us. For more useful videos on exercises, follow our channel.