Osgood Schlatters and Severs Disease – Growth plate injuries

Both Osgood Schlatters and Severs disease refer to a growth-plate injury in young people this is the area of the bone where it is still growing. In Osgood Slatters this occurs at the top of the shin bone  (tibial tuberosity) where the quadriceps muscle attaches, in Severs this occurs at the back of the heel bone (or calcaneus) where the Achilles tendon attaches.Both injuries are more common in active/sporty young people but may happen to anyone during a period of rapid growth or “growth spurt.”

Osgood Slatters – What is it and how does it feel?

The large muscle on the front of the thigh (quadriceps) attaches to the shin bone via the patella tendon. The function of this tendon is to transmit forces produced by the thigh muscle to the shin to support and move the knee joint. In children, the portion of the shin bone into which the patella tendon inserts is separated from the bulk of the shin bone by a growth plate. This growth plate enables bone growth to occur. However, it also represents a site of weakness in the bone. Forcible and repeated contraction of the thigh muscle can injure the growth plate – this is called Osgood Slatters disease. This commonly occurs in sports which involve running and jumping and occurs during a period of rapid growth. During rapid growth, the thigh muscle and patella tendon become tighter as the bones grow faster than the muscles are able to lengthen and adapt. This leads to increased pulling of the thigh muscle and patella tendon on the shin bone and growth plate.

The painful site is just below the kneecap on the bony bump on the front of the shin, called the tibial tuberosity. Pain is felt most commonly during activity or exercise. The tibial tuberosity may be swollen and often tender to touch.

Osgood Schlatters disease

Severs Disease – What is it and what does it feel like?

Severs disease occurs where the growth plate (or the growing part of the heel) is injured. The foot is one of the first parts of the body to grow to full size, so it grows quite quickly – often faster than the muscles and tendons, this means that the muscles and tendons tend to get tight, so more pressure is exerted by them onto the growth plate of the heel and this repetitive micro-trauma starts to give heel pain and inflammation. This occurs particularly during weight-bearing activities such as running. The person with severs will often complain of pain on walking in the morning or squeezing the heel, they will often limp and have more severe pain after and during exercise.

Sever's disease

What can you do for Osgood Schlatters and Severs Disease?

  • Limit participation of the aggravating activity. In people playing multiple sports it often means choosing between one or another for a period of time
  • Stretching for the tight muscle: Calf (heel over edge of a step and push the heel down) and quadriceps (pull your heel up to your buttock)   – hold for at least 30 seconds.


  • Ice – wrap crushed ice in a wet cloth and apply to back of heel/ or under knee cap for 10 min
  • Take preventative measures: e.g. wear supportive shoes, don’t do too much running on hard surfaces and stretch regularly to maintain flexibility.

How long does it take to settle?

Both Severs and Osgood Slatters are self limiting conditions, which means they will go away on their own when they are used less or when the bones have finished growing. The condition is not expected to cause long term disability, and often will settle within 2-8 weeks. However, while the disease may settle quickly, it may re-occur for example at the start of a new sporting season. Both of these conditions are more common in boys, but they occur in girls as well.

When to seek treatment?

  • If the injured person is starting to limp
  • If the pain is worsening even with rest
  • If the pain has recurred a second time
  • If the redness or swelling is not settling down
  • If other symptoms are being experienced for example pins and needles, numbness, sharp/searing pain, night pain (while sleeping)

What will the physiotherapist do?

Your physiotherapist can perform a thorough examination of the injury and ascertain if it is in-fact a growth plate injury and can show you how to perform the necessary stretches and strengthening exercises if required, also the physio may make foot wear recommendations or apply taping or bracing to off-load the inflamed area. Your physio can also help you with education and management strategies. The physio will also be able to refer to for x-rays if it is warranted.

Gold Coast Physiotherapy – Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach Physiotherapy Centres 07 5535 5218


Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

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