Can Osgood Schlatters go away untreated?

You can’t just rest your way out of Osgood

Gone are the days of “waiting it out” for Osgood to go away. This is not only tedious and heartbreaking, it actually flies in the face of rehabilitation science.

Unfortunately we still see this all the time; young active teenagers and children diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters told they can’t play any sport for months or even years while they wait for their growth spurt to slow down and their pain to go away in it’s own time.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In fact we think it is hugely counterproductive.

Why rest alone doesn’t help

Osgood pain almost always decreases with an extended period of time on the sidelines.

The problem with that however is that fitness, strength, coordination, muscle size, and tendon elasticity all decrease at a rapid rate. So the athlete becomes pain free, but also weak as a kitten!

Thus when it comes time to finally return to sport, all the physical qualities that once helped that athlete absorb forces on the sports field are gone. That makes it only a matter of time before the Osgood Schlatters returns, typically within 7-14 days.

It's a vicious cycle of pain, rest, weakness, and more pain.

So how do you get on top of your Osgood pain?

The key to rehabilitating from most injuries, and particularly for overload injuries like Osgood, is to take a short period of time in what is known as relative rest, spending a period of time (2-14 days) with a reduced activity level to allow the knees some time to recover and adapt.

Osgood Schlatters is as much a disease caused by rapidly growing bones as it is an overuse injury of the tendon/enthesis. This overuse is most common in children who are not strong, mobile or skilled enough to handle their activity levels.

Press pause, then start back slowly

For some young athletes this could simply be a 48 hours period of absolutely no running, jumping or sport, followed by a few weeks of gradually increasing training loads.

For others it might be 1-2 weeks of light activities (below a 6/10 intensity level) with no sessions longer than 45 minutes to minimise fatigue. After that they may gradually increase the duration of the activity sessions, before dialling up the intensity a few weeks later.

This is the individualised part of Curing Osgood Schlatters and is tricky to answer for every case in a short blog post. But there are two simple tests you can use to determine if you got your loading correct.

  1. How did your knees feel during and immediately after the activity? Ideally they should not be causing you to limp, and not be above a 3/10 rating for pain.
  2. How do your knees feel the next morning when you get out of bed?

If you perform poorly on either of these tests dial your training back further until you find a level you can manage.

In our seven week Osgood training program we provide resources to help you and your child better understand their training and activity levels for the best chance of staying pain free once you cure your Osgood Schlatters.

How long to recover from Osgood?

Osgood can take weeks to fix. Or it can take years, depending on how you go about it.

The old method of simply waiting for the growth spurt to slow down enough for the pain to settle can take months or years and sets young athletes back a long way. Plus it often results in the yo-yoing in and out of pain as the Osgood pain can cycle in and out for years.

A basketball athlete recovered and back on court.
The road back isn't always perfectly straight, but consistency and hard work will help you navigate the good and bad days.

Alternatively you can set a plan in place and pro-actively address the underlying reason for the pain.

By following a structured and progressive training plan, it is possible to beat Osgood Schlatters in just a few weeks. Build the strength, mobility, and movement skill needed to protect your knees and prevent Osgood from coming back.

This isn't a magic potion or pill, but an age-appropriate training plan to successfully manage your Osgood and gradually eliminate the pain completely. When done well, this process takes only a few short weeks.

Throughout our program The Secret to Curing Osgood Schlatters, we guide you through the exercises, warm up methods, and recovery instructions to get you back to sport as quickly as possible. We also provide the methods and tools to create consistency in your training week for strong, pain free knees.

In seven short weeks, eliminate your Osgood Schlatters and return to sport pain free and stronger than ever.

Osgood Schlatters treatment program

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