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Physical Therapy Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter Disease – Information, Exercises, and More

Is your teen experiencing intense leg pain and you can’t find the cause?

Maybe you’re thinking he or she is experiencing growing pains or jumper’s knee, but you’re not sure how to help alleviate their symptoms. 

You’re not alone. 

Ten percent of all adolescents experience the same thing. The technical name for the pain is Osgood-Schlatter disease. 

In this guide we’ll discuss everything you need to know about Osgood-Schlatter disease and how to find relief.

What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Shalatter disease isn’t actually a disease, but a type of knee injury commonly found in adolescents.

It occurs in the area where the tendon from the knee cap (patellar tendon) — which stretches over the kneecap — attaches to the shinbone (tibia). This area is called the tibial tuberosity.

Osgood-Schlatter disease is the swelling, inflammation, and irritation of the area below the knee, sometimes resulting in a painful bump just under your kneecap.

What Causes Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

Osgood-Schlatter is caused by the constant pulling of the tendons in your knee. 

Two of the most common causes of Osgood-Schlatter Disease are: 

  1. Growth Spurts
  2. Sporting Activities

Growth Spurts

During adolescence, bones typically grow faster than your muscles and tendons. This causes your muscles and tendons to become tight.

During growth spurts, the muscles, bones, and tendons shift and grow larger,  putting more stress on the patellar tendon and growth plate  — leading to pain and inflammation.

Sporting Activities

Athletic adolescents are most commonly affected by OsgoodSchlatter disease particularly boys between the ages of 10 through 15 who play games or sports that include a lot of running and jumping.

These sports cause your leg muscles to pull on the patellar tendon, which pulls on the growth plate. 

Sports that put repeated stress on your patellar tendon and involve things like running and jumping — like ballet, basketball, soccer, track, etc. — are known to cause Osgood-Schlatter’s in children and adolescents. 

It’s no surprise that because of these reasons, Osgood-Schlatter’s is commonly referred to as growing pains or jumper’s knee.

An important thing to note is that Osgood-Schlatter’s disease can continue throughout childhood into adulthood. Treatment for Osgood-Schlatter’s may differ for those who suffer from the injury into adulthood. 

Osgood-Schlatter Symptoms

Most symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter’s affect the area just below the knee cap. Some of the most common symptoms are: 

  • Pain — pain usually develops slowly over time, but may happen rapidly. 
  • Redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness at the top of the shin
  • Tightness in the quadriceps muscle.
  • Loss of range-of-motion of the knee
  • Impaired balance
  • A bony bump that forms at the top of the shinbone
  • Discomfort while bending your knee when squatting, sitting, or walking up and down stairs 

Osgood-Schlatter’s symptoms usually only occur on one knee but can occur on both. 

Osgood-Schlatter Treatment

In most cases, Osgood-Schlatter’s disease goes away on its own when children stop growing. Some common Osgood-Schlatter’s treatments are:

  • Wearing shock-absorbent insoles in your shoes
  • Taking a break from sports for a short period of time
  • RICE treatment — rest, ice, compression, elevate
  • Wearing protective gear on your shins to avoid injury during sports
  • Osgood-Schlatter’s disease physical therapy
  • Wearing a knee brace 

For unresolved cases of Osgood-Schlatter’s, the following treatments may be necessary: 

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment may be necessary if you are an adult still experiencing symptoms due to Osgood-Schlatter’s disease. 

Surgery for Osgood-Schlatter’s disease usually involves removing the raised area of the tibial tuberosity, the bursa, and any irritated tissue surrounding it.

Osgood-Schlatter Physical Therapy – Will PT Help?

Yes. Osgood-Schlatter physical therapy is an excellent way to overcome Osgood-Schlatter’s disease. 

A physical therapist can develop a personalized plan to tackle your Osgood-Schlatter’s symptoms and get back to living your best, pain-free life

How Can A Physical Therapist Help? 

Depending on the severity of your Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, there are a number of ways a physical therapist can help you overcome the injury.

Some of these include:

  • Range-of-motion therapy
  • Strength training
  • Manual therapy
  • Pain management

Exercise is typically one of the biggest components of Osgood-Schlatter’s physical therapy. 

Best Osgood-Schlatter Exercises

Your physical therapist may educate you on specific exercises to help with your symptoms. Some of the most common Osgood-Schlatter exercises are listed below. 

Some of these exercises may also assist in Osgood-Schlatter rehab, especially after surgery. 

Always talk to your Doctor of Physical Therapy before performing any exercises for any injury. 

Stretching

Proper stretches are some of the most common exercises you can do to combat Osgood-Schlatter’s disease.
Stretching can help improve your range-of-motion and take the pressure off the patellar tendon. 
Some of the most recommended common stretches are: 

  • Quadricep stretches
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Calf stretches

Muscle Strengthening

Osgood-Schlatter rehab may start with muscle strengthening exercises. Common exercises your doctor or therapist may recommend include: 

  • Heal and calf raises
  • Wall squats
  • Knee extensions
  • Knee Flexions

Strengthening the muscles around your knee joint relieves strain placed on the muscles and tendons.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Osgood-Schlatter Disease

At In Motion O.C. we understand how important it is to be able to do the things you love pain free

We’ve helped dozens of people overcome their Osgood-Schlatter’s pain. We’re rated the number one physical therapist in the United States on Google and Yelp! for a reason. 

Our mission is to give hope, healing, confidence, and joy to others.

Let us help you get back in the game…literally or figuratively. Schedule a free consultation here.

In Motion O.C.