Knee > Osgood-Schlatter Disease > Treatments

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If you have been diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, your doctor may suggest stretching and strengthening exercises, focusing on the quadriceps and hamstrings, to improve strength and flexibility and to help prevent your condition from getting worse. Stretching is particularly important during a growth spurt. The quadriceps have not increased their flexibility relative to bone growth. If you have a more severe case of Osgood-Schlatter disease that requires immobilization or bracing of your knee, you will probably will not be able to begin these exercises until you have been cleared by your doctor. If your symptoms do not improve after a week or week and a half of beginning stretching and strengthening exercises, you should visit your doctor.


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 because what often happens during a growth spurt is that the quadriceps have not increased their flexibility in relation to the lengthening of the bone. 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.

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