Knee > Osgood-Schlatter Disease > Treatments


Home Recovery

While Osgood-Schlatter disease normally runs its course naturally as bones reach full development, often it is necessary to modify your physical activities to speed healing. The severity of your symptoms will determine how much you need to limit your activities. For example, if you experience some pain after playing sports but the pain goes away within 24 hours, it is probably OK to continue your normal routine. However, if your symptoms worsen, it is probably a good idea to take a rest from the activity that led to them. The goal is to decrease the stress on your knees and lower legs, which means that even if you are not playing sports, you should try to avoid strenuous activities that require deep knee bending, jumping, and repetition. Total curtailment of sports and physical activity is not recommended, however, as this can gradually weaken your leg muscles and increase the chance of injury once you return to more strenuous physical activity. When you do return, it may help to apply heat to the affected area for about 15 minutes before exercising or sports, to loosen up your muscles and tendons. After you finish, icing your knee and keeping it elevated can decrease pain and inflammation.


If you have had your knee immobilized in a brace or cast during treatment for Osgood-Schlatter disease, your rehabilitation is crucial to restoring leg strength and flexibility as well as preventing your condition from getting worse. Stretching is particularly important during a growth spurt. The quadriceps have not increased their flexibility relative to 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 these exercises, 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 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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