Strengthening Exercises
For Osgood Schlatters

Osgood Schlatters disease is a common knee problem caused by irritation of the bone just below the kneecap. It is most common in adolescents and tends to occur after a growth spurt, and is usually associated with muscle weakness and tightness. It can take anything from a couple of weeks to 2 years to recover from, depending on how well it is treated.

Muscle weakness is also a common feature of Osgood Schlatter Disease and can actually make the condition worse. When there is muscle weakness, it changes the way the forces go through the knee, putting more pressure through the knee bones. It also means that the other muscles have to work harder to compensate, and they can end up developing problems.

It is therefore really important to do strengthening exercises for Osgood Schlatters Disease not only to treat it but to prevent it from recurring.  Here are some simple strengthening exercises that can really help Osgood Schlatters Disease.

Once you have got to grips with these, I suggest you also start doing some stretching exercises to speed up your recovery.  If you want to find out more about the causes, symptoms and other treatment options available, visit the Osgood Schlatter Overview.

1) Bridging

Purpose: Strengthens the hamstrings whilst also working the quads and buttock muscles.  A great all-round exercise for Osgood Schlatters

Starting Position: Lie on your back with both knees bent about 90° and your feet on the floor/bed

Action: Clench your buttocks and lift your bottom off the bed as high as you can without arching your back. Hold for 3-5 seconds and slowly lower

Repetitions: Repeat 10-25 times, 1-2x daily

Note: a) Keep your back straight – don’t let it arch as you lift up, it should be your bottom doing the work
b) Don’t hold your breath – keep breathing normally
c)Don’t let your knees drop out – imagine you are trying to hold a tennis ball between your knees

2) The Football – Stage 1

Purpose: Increase the muscles on the inside of your knee that are responsible for how the kneecap moves, also increases knee stability, commonly lacking with Osgood Schlatters

Strengthening the VMO muscles is an important part of an exercise programme with osgood schlattersApproved use by HEP2go.com

Starting Position: Sit in a chair, feet hip width apart with a soft/foam football in between your knees.

Action: Clench your buttocks, clench your knees and gently squeeze the ball with your knees. Hold for 3-5 secs and relax

Repetition: Repeat 10-20x, 2x daily

Tips: a) Place your fingers on the muscles on the inside of the knee and feel the muscle tighten underneath you to check you are doing it right
b) When you squeeze the ball, make sure the squeezing movement comes from your knees, not your hips

Note: If you don’t have a foam football, you could use a folded up pillow

3) The Football – Stage 2

Purpose: Further strengthening of the muscles on the inside of your knee that control the kneecap moves. Also increases knee stability

Starting Position: Lying on your back with a pillow under your knees so knees are bent 30°. Feet hip width apart with a soft football in between your knees

Action: Squeeze the football as with stage 1 (clench buttocks and knee muscles). Then lift one foot up off the bed, straightening the knee, all whilst still squeezing the ball. Hold for 3 secs and slowly lower the leg. Finally, relax the knee (unclench).

Repetition: Repeat 10-20x, 2x daily

Note: a) Ensure that you keep squeezing the ball throughout the exercise – keep the knee and buttock clench going throughout.
b) Keep the knee resting on the pillow – do not lift it up

4) Straight Leg Raise

Purpose: Strengthen the Quads muscles without bending the knee NB do not do this if you have a history of back problems

Starting position: Lying flat on your back. Leg and knee straight

Action: Pull your toes towards you and tighten/clench the muscle on the front of the thigh, locking your knee straight. Lift your foot up about 6 inches off the bed. Hold for 3-5 secs and slowly lower. Ensure your knee stays straight the whole time

Repetition: repeat 10-20 times, 2x daily

Progression: Add a weight eg by wearing a shoe, or using an ankle weight.

5) Clam

Purpose: Strengthen the buttock muscles (glutes) to help support the knee and prevent excessive weight going through the inner side of the knee – a must for anyone with Osgood Schlatters!

Starting position: Lie on your side with your hip and knees bent approx 90°, feet together.

Action: Keeping your feet together, lift the top knee up as high as you can. Hold for 3 seconds and slowly lower

Repetition: Repeat 10-25x on each side, 2x daily

Note: Do not let your top hip roll backwards

What Else Can I Do?

If you want to know more about Osgood-Schlatters Disease including more information on its causes, presentation and other treatment options, go to the Osgood Schlatters Overview page.

If you haven't already visited the Stretches for Osgood Schlatters Disease page, I would highly recommend it, as muscle tightness is one of the key causes of Osgood Schlatters.

Go to Knee Exercise Guide or Homepage


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See Also

How do I know if I've got Osgood Schlatters?

Knee Braces: Would they help?

How do I know how much to exercise?

Other common causes of pain



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