Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Feb 15, 2020

Osgood-Schlatter disease describes a condition that typically occurs in adolescents and produces pain at the front of the knee at the attachment site for the quadriceps muscles (tibial tuberosity). This issue is typically associated with activities that require high quadriceps force generation, including jumping, sprinting and quick change of direction maneuvers.

This blog post will cover a recent study(1) that examined a rehab program designed to treat Osgood-Schlatter disease. The program was broken down into two blocks with the intentions of reducing pain, managing patellar tendon loads, increasing strength and promoting a return to sport. Here are the stages and exercises:

  • Block 1 (0-4 weeks): rest from any aggravating activities and perform the following exercises.
    • Isometric Knee Extension (10 x 30 secs), perform every day
    • Glute Bridge (3 sets, 10 reps), perform every other day
  • Block 2 (5-12 weeks): continue with block 1 exercises and add the following.
    • Wall Squat Isometric: lower as far as tolerable (goal of 90 degrees with no more than 2/10 for pain). Hold here for up to 20 seconds. Gradually work up to 10 reps. Perform every other day. Move to next step when you can do 10 reps with less than 2/10 pain
    • Traditional Squat: squat to 90 degrees. 3 seconds down, 10 second hold, 3 seconds back up. Add sets (less than 2/10 pain) until you reach 4 sets of 10 reps
    • Lunge: 3 seconds down, 2 second hold, 3 seconds up
Isometric Knee Extension
Glute Bridge
Wall Squat

The study then lays out an activity ladder that the afflicted person should progress through in order to get ready to return to sport, which can be viewed here.

In terms of results, here is what they found: 80% of the adolescents reported a successful outcome at 12 weeks with 90% at 1 year. 16% has returned to sport at 12 weeks while 69% had returned at 1 year. Scores for pain, ADLs, and quality of life improved significantly as well as hip and knee strength and jump performance.


Rathleff MS, et al. Activity Modification and Knee Strengthening for Osgood-Schlatter Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. 2020.


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