Knee > Osgood-Schlatter Disease > Treatments

    Bracing and Immobilization

Home Recovery

Depending on your level of activity and on the degree of pain and discomfort you are experiencing from Osgood-Schlatter disease, your doctor may suggest that you wear a protective knee brace or a light cast. A patellar-stabilizing brace or an infrapatellar sling can take the tension off the kneecap, and a patellar-stabilizing brace with a pad that goes over the kneecap (patella) can often prevent pulling of the patellar tendon. These types of braces usually are used if the kneecap is not tracking properly. A padded knee sleeve that protects the area below the kneecap where the pain is normally centered can help guard against direct blows or falls. Kneepads used by wrestlers and basketball players fit into this category. For severe cases of Osgood-Schlatter disease, in which pain has worsened or has not responded to other treatments, your doctor may recommend that you wear a cast or brace that will immobilize your knee. This treatment can last from four to eight weeks. Typically, this is a thigh-to-ankle cast, and can become hot and itchy at times but is effective at relieving pain associated with Osgood-Schlatter disease. After your symptoms have eased, you can start a stretching and strengthening program to build up your thigh muscles (quadriceps) and hamstrings.

Rehabilitation [top]

If you have had your knee immobilized in a brace or cast during treatment for Osgood-Schlatter disease, your rehabilitation is crucial to restoring knee strength and flexibility as well as preventing your condition from getting worse. Stretching is particularly important during a growth spurt. The quadriceps must be relatively reoriented to a length consistent with bone growth. Strengthening should focus on the quadriceps and hamstrings, and can include exercises such as straight-leg raises, wall slides, leg curls, and quadriceps contractions. These exercises can be done at home or under the supervision of a physical therapist. While doing them, it is important to remember to go slowly and not to push yourself to the point where you feel pain. It is preferable to do more repetitions of each exercise rather than fewer repetitions with higher resistance. To reap the maximum benefit from these exercises, they should be performed regularly until you have stopped growing or until pain has subsided. Consult your physician if you have questions.


   Knee strengthening exercises: Kneecap (patella) injuries

Prevention [top]

It is probably unrealistic to expect to prevent Osgood-Schlatter disease, simply because it is related to natural growth spurts. But you can take steps to minimize its effects. Exercises that strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, such as straight-leg raises and leg curls, can help prevent the condition from getting worse. Avoiding overuse is important, as is modifying the specific activity. In soccer, for instance, if you are taking all the free kicks, you may have to relinquish that role for a while. If you play an outside position, you could be moved to an inside position to lessen the amount of running required. If you are a gymnast who has developed Osgood-Schlatter disease from repetitive jumping, for example, you may have to modify or stop using dismounts in the early, acute phase of the disease. Occasionally, an athlete may have a foot problem that can contribute to Osgood-Schlatter disease. In this instance, custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) may be effective in decreasing stress on the knee and lower leg. See your doctor for a complete evaluation.

Bracing and Immobilization
   Home Recovery
Patellar Tendon Strap
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Physical Therapy

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