What is Osgood Schlatter Disease?
Osgood Schlatter disease (also OSD, or simply Osgood) is a common condition that affects the growth plate at the top of the shinbone (tibia) just below the knee in children, teenagers and even young adults.
It is most commonly seen in adolescents who are actively growing and participating in sports that involve running, jumping, and quick changes in direction. The condition is characterized by pain and swelling at the top of the shinbone, it can last for months or years if left untreated, and can be quite debilitating if left untreated. Osgood can be considered an overuse injury brought by; the combination of large volumes of sports and activity with a rapidly growing skeleton (growth spurts).
Exercises to help with Osgood Schlatters
Fortunately, there are several exercises that can help to alleviate the pain and swelling associated with Osgood Schlatter disease. These exercises are designed to strengthen and lengthen the muscles in the legs and core, which in turn helps to take the pressure off of the growth plate and reduce the risk of further injury.
Keep reading for several exercises that can be helpful for managing and treating Osgood Schlatter Disease.
This blog and the exercises included are for general information only, be sure to seek a medical diagnosis as to the cause of your knee pain and apply caution if considering these exercises.
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Stretches for Osgood
Stretching the muscles in the leg can help to improve flexibility and reduce tension on the growth plate. Always stretch gently and be wary to not over stretch or place pressure on the knees.
Some stretches to try include:
- Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall with one foot in front of the other. Place your hands on the wall and lean forward, keeping your back leg straight and your front leg bent. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Hip flexor stretches: Stand with one hand on a wall or other stable surface for balance. With the other hand, grasp the ankle of your bent leg and lift it towards your buttocks. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Hamstring stretches: Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Reach for your toes and hold this position for 30 seconds.
Strength exercises for Osgood
Strengthening the muscles in the leg can help to support the growth plate and reduce the risk of further injury.
Do not perform any of these exercises if they cause pain.
Some exercises to try include:
- Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended in front of you. Lower your body as if you were sitting back into a chair, keeping your weight in your heels and your back straight. Push through your feet to stand back up. Do not squat too deep.
- Calf raises: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart next to a railing or surface you can hold for balance. Pushing through your big toes raise raise your heels off the ground with the calf muscles, pause in the top position for 1 second before slowly lowering back down. Repeat for 12 repetitions.
- Glute bridges: Lying on your back, bend the knees and place your feet flat on the ground, hip width apart and with the knee at less than 90º. Pressing your heels into the ground, squeeze your glute muscles and push your hips up into the air. Hold for 1-second before lowering back down with control.
Movement skill exercises
One key and often forgotten element of training for Osgood Schlatter disease is movement skill and efficiency training.
Considering Osgood Schlatters is as much an injury as it is a disease, it is often made worse by poor movement mechanics, heavy running and landing technique being two of the key culprits.
- Skipping and stride outs: These exercises are used to improve rhythm, lightness of foot and economy when running. Start lightly and build intensity and volume slowly over time.
- Ninja landings: This builds on your squatting technique by introducing a small jump. Do these lightly on a soft surface with the aim being to jump just a small amount off the ground land land softly and lightly.
It is important to give your legs a break from intense physical activity to allow them time to heal.
Try to limit activities that involve running, jumping, and quick changes in direction until your symptoms have improved. Ideally you will still do some activities, as complete rest is also risky and can make your symptoms worse and Osgood last longer as you lose strength and fitness.
It is important to remember that everyone's recovery process is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you are experiencing pain and swelling in your shins, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
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