How do you fix Osgood-Schlatter disease?


Osgood-Schlatter disease is an injury caused by overuse of the knee, commonly seen in growing and active adolescents. Symptoms can include knee pain and swelling, as well as the forming of a bony bump below the kneecap

Osgood-Schlatter is normally seen in adolescents that play sports involving repeated running, jumping, and twisting. To treat Osgood-Schlatter disease, physiotherapists work with patients to build strength and capacity in the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee.
Since Osgood-Schlatter disease is an injury caused by overload, the best way to prevent it from occurring is to implement rest into your routine or supplement certain sports training with strength training.


What are the symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease, also known as OSD, occurs when the patellar ligament in the knee is inflamed, sometimes presenting as a painful bony bump below the kneecap.
People with Osgood-Schlatter disease often experience these symptoms:
  • Knee pain (especially felt when walking, running, kneeling, or jumping) 
  • Knee swelling 
  • Tender bump below the kneecap

How does Osgood-Schlatter disease happen?

Osgood-Schlatter disease sometimes occurs as a result of a large increase in training or workload in a short period of time. This disease most often affects young athletes that are still growing, primarily those who play sports that involve jumping and running.
As children and adolescents grow and participate in activities, their thigh muscles will begin to pull on the tendon that connects their kneecap to their growth plate. If this stress on the bone growth plate continues to occur, the child may develop Osgood-Schlatter disease and experience pain and swelling, as well as develop a bony lump below the kneecap. 
Some common causes of Osgood-Schlatter disease include:
  • Overuse in sports that involve running, jumping, and twisting 
  • Growth spurts

How do you treat Osgood-Schlatter disease?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is an injury caused by overload, so we first work to monitor and decrease the workload that the individual is putting that tissue under. For young athletes, this usually means modifying their playing and training times, replacing some hours dedicated to sport with time dedicated to recovery and strength training. 
Next, we will work to build capacity in the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee, specifically in the quadriceps, and we will work to change any movement patterns that may be aggravating symptoms.
We will create an exercise program that works to load the hips, as well as some isometric exercises for the quadriceps. Modalities like taping or strapping can also be helpful to settle symptoms in the short term.
Once symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease have settled, we will introduce dynamic, heavy slow resistance training to build strength and resilience in the muscles and tendons surrounding the knee.


How can Osgood-Schlatter disease be prevented?

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing Osgood-Schlatter disease is to monitor a young athlete’s workload. Osgood-Schlatter disease is an injury based on overload so instead of having young athletes play sports 7 days a week, replace some of those sports-focused days with strength training or recovery.
We also recommend exposing young athletes to a variety of sports and exercises to vary up the stresses on the knee.

The Bridge model consists of three pillars

Relieve pain

Injury treatment and management to relieve pain, including physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic treatment.

get stronger

We introduce strength and mobility exercises to build tolerance to the demands of your activity and to develop more efficient movement patterns, making sure you don’t get hurt again.

improve performance

Performance or return to sport training: Is the last part of our model and reserved for those needing to return to a competitive sport or wanting to train at a higher level.

Contact us today and learn how our team can help you build a recovery plan, in person or virtually.

Book an in-person appointment

Book a session at one of our three locations in Edmonton and Sherwood Park.

Book a virtual appoinTment

Book a virtual appointment with one of our experts, no matter where you are.

Start typing and press Enter to search