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Knee Relief: Strategies for Youth Athletes with Osgood-Schlatter

#Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is a common condition affecting adolescents, especially those engaged in sports or physical activities. This condition is named after Robert Bayley Osgood and Carl B. Schlatter, who described it independently in 1903 and 1904, respectively. It's one of the most common knee issues that we hear from our youth athletes going through growth spurts.

We typically see athletes either looking for post-rehab strategies after seeing a physical therapist or if they are experiencing pain, we refer them to physical therapists who are pros in dealing with joint issues/pain.

This blog post will highlight the some of the strategies we use that athletes have mentioned have given them relief.


OSD is typically associated with periods of rapid growth, where the developing bones and other structures like muscles and tendons are under increased stress. The "disease" arises from repetitive stress or tension on the growth plate at the top of the tibia (shinbone), where the patellar tendon attaches. This stress is particularly common in sports that involve running, jumping, and quick changes of direction.


The primary symptom of Osgood-Schlatter disease is pain just below the knee, often on the front of the shinbone. This pain typically worsens with activities like running, jumping, and kneeling, and improves with rest. Other symptoms may include:

  • Swelling or tenderness at the tibial tuberosity (the bony bump below the knee).

  • Tightness of the surrounding muscles, particularly the quadriceps.

  • Visible protrusion where the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone.


Most athletes want to keep competing, practicing or just doing something to keep them progressing instead of just resting and not doing anything.

Foam rolling, stretching, strengthening, isometric exercises all have its place in alleviating pain and keeping an athlete in the game so to speak.

Listed below are 3 foam rolling drills and a great quad stretch that will provide immediate relief:

(1) Foam Roll your Quads

Start at the hip flexors and work your way down to the area right above your knee. Spend more time on the area that feels sore/tight.

(2) Foam Roll your IT Band.

Same strategy as your quads, start at the top of the hip and work your way down right above the knee.

(3) Foam Roll your Piriformis (side of hip)

(4) Couch Stretch

Squeeze your glutes (in the case below, on the Left side) then gently push hip forward. Hold for 3-5 secs each side.

Osgood-Schlatter disease, while painful and potentially disruptive to sporting activities, is generally self-limiting and resolves as youth athletes completes their growth spurt. A combination of rest, targeted exercises, and careful management of activity levels can help in managing the condition effectively.

Again,, it's always advisable to consult a Medical professional, like a physical therapist for personalized advice and treatment.


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