Apophysitis refers to irritation, inflammation or trauma to an apophysis, or an area where a tendon, muscle and bone connect. The apophysis is the weakest point in this connection, and it can be injured by overuse. Continuous stress on the growth cartilage in this muscle-tendon unit can cause pain and swelling. While some develop apophysitis due to muscle weakness or balance issues, most often it is the result of a repetitive activity, such as running or throwing a ball. It also can be caused by an avulsion fracture, which occurs when a small piece of bone breaks off and becomes lodged in the cartilage. Apophysitis is most common in children and teenagers who play sports. Overuse injuries have become more common in young athletes as training demands have increased.

One of the most common forms of apophysitis is Osgood-Schlatter disease, which manifests in the knee. Other common forms are Sever's disease, which affects the heel, and Little League elbow. It also is seen often in the foot, shoulder and pelvis. Treatment for apophysitis usually begins with rest and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Physicians may recommend applying ice to the area, and in more pronounced cases, physical therapy may be necessary. Orthopedic aids, such as knee pads, heel cups and ankle braces, may be helpful in some cases.


Patients from across the nation trust their orthopaedic care to the specialists at UAB Medicine, where they benefit from the evidence-based care delivered by nationally known specialists in a compassionate environment. Our faculty physicians perform a wide array of complex and minimally invasive procedures and treatments, from complete hip replacements and bone cancer screenings to scoliosis correction and repair of sports-related injuries.

Clinics are maintained at the convenient UAB Hospital-Highlands, which offers easy access and free parking.

UAB Orthopaedics is comprised of physicians focused on specific bone and joint conditions of the hands, back, knees, hips, and feet. Physicians specializing in pediatric orthopaedics, musculoskeletal oncology, and sports medicine complete our comprehensive group of specialists. Our pledge is to work with you to determine the best course of care for your individual needs, and we keep you informed every step of the way. Our access to a wide variety of UAB Medicine specialists in other areas ensures that you will receive outstanding, experienced care.

Specialists within UAB Orthopaedics are highly skilled experts in their areas. Our physicians receive additional training in their area of specialty and stay up to date on the latest advances through professional medical societies such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Because our physicians take leadership roles in professional medical societies and author textbooks that help mold tomorrow’s orthopaedic physicians, they are nationally and internationally renowned for their care.


UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of apophysitis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information on clinical trials at clinicaltrials.gov.

View Clinical Trials