Thermography and Growth Maturation: Osgood-Schlatter Pathology from a Thermographic Perspective.

Thermography and Growth Maturation: Osgood-Schlatter Pathology from a Thermographic Perspective.

23/11/2023 Home

A common pathology in adolescents who engage in sports frequently, characterized by pronounced pain in the anterior tibial tuberosity.

The maturation process in young athletes can, in some cases, be accompanied by pathologies associated with growth or sports performance. In this case, one of the most common pathologies in adolescents is Osgood-Schlatter syndrome, with a prevalence of 9.8% in young athletes (Lucenti et al., 2022).

Osgood-Schlatter is named after the two doctors, Robert Carl Bayley Osgood and Carl Schlatter, who described a condition characterized by pain and swelling in the region of the anterior tibial tuberosity (ATT), which can degenerate into a greater prominence in that region.


The syndrome is caused by faster bone growth, leading to musculotendinous structures being unable to cope with mechanical tension. Imbalances created by tensional forces on the insertion of the patellar tendon in the ATT cause traction on the apophysis, leading to inflammation (Lucena et al., 2011). Additionally, this can be aggravated by repeated knee extension actions, which occur in most sports movements, such as jumping or striking (Morales et al., 2005).

As seen on multiple occasions, inflammation in bodily tissue should result in hyperthermia from a thermographic perspective. That is what different researchers have proposed to verify if the SOS has a hyper-radiant reaction in the body.

Studies linking thermal response with Osgood-Schlatter:

In scientific literature, there are two studies conducted with very similar methodologies that highlight the relationship between the hyperthermic pattern found with thermography and the diagnosis of Osgood-Schlatter.

Both studies analyzed subjects in a sitting position, marking the ATT area through a manually placed circle as the region of interest for the study. From a thermographic perspective, the knee is an area with multiple strategies for analysis; ThermoHuman has a specific analysis protocol.

da Silva Freitas et al. (2013) compared two groups: a control group and a group with subjects diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter. They established the maximum temperature of the ROI of the ATT and compared it between groups. The temperature difference between individuals with SOS was 0.5°C between knees, while control individuals had a difference of 0.1°C. There was a significant difference between groups. Furthermore, the temperature of the knee with Osgood-Schlatter within the group of subjects with SOS was significantly higher than the knee without the syndrome, indicating not only a difference between groups but also between sides of the same individual.

Figure 1. Image 1 from da Silva Freitas et al.’s study (2013) and Image 2 from Capitani et al.’s study (2017).

On the other hand, Capitani et al. (2017) compared the knees of 6 athletes, all diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter, with their healthy contralateral knee, obtaining a significant difference between both; the asymmetry was 1.05°C between both knees.

These results align with the theory that links bodily inflammation with hyperthermia.

Conclusions to Osgood-Schlatter monitoring:

A pathology affecting the bone, causing inflammation or edema, will have a hyper-radiant thermal response, aligning with similar responses from bone edema or the meniscus.

There is a specific protocol to analyze one of the regions with the highest prevalence of injury, which can help monitor recovery processes.

Once again, healthy subjects present very low or no asymmetry when analyzed with thermography.


Lucenti, L., Sapienza, M., Caldaci, A., Cristo, C. D., Testa, G., & Pavone, V. (2022). The Etiology and Risk Factors of Osgood–Schlatter Disease: A Systematic Review. Children, 9(6), 826.

Lucena GL, Gomes CS, Guerra RO. Prevalence and associated factors of Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome in a population-based sample of Brazilian adolescents. Am J Sports Med. 2011;39(2):415-20

Morales GAS, Barraza JCS, Aquino GR, Gonzáles RT. Osgood-Schlatter en futbolistas escolares y adolescents. Acta Ortop Mex. 2005;19(4):135-8

da Silva Freitas, Priscilla; Cabral Robinson, Caroline; Gonçalves Barreto, Rodrigo Py; Zaro, Milton Antonio; Telles Da Rosa, Luis Henrique; Faria Silva, Marcelo Infrared thermography in adolescents with Osgood-Schlatter Disease ConScientiae Saúde, vol. 12, núm. 4, diciembre, 2013

Capitani, G., Sehnem, E., Rosa, C., Matos, F., Reis, V. M., & Neves, E. B. (2017). Osgood-schlatter Disease Diagnosis by Algometry and Infrared Thermography. The Open Sports Sciences Journal, 10(1).

Europa Thermohuman ThermoHuman has had the support of the Funds of the European Union and the Community of Madrid through the Operational Programme on Youth Employment. Likewise, ThermoHuman within the framework of the Export Initiation Program of ICEX NEXT, had the support of ICEX and the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

CDTI Thermohuman has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), in participation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the R+D activities involved in creating a new tool, based on thermography, for the prediction and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. See project detail.