Genu valgum (Knock knees)
Knock knees of Genu Valgum is a condition in which the knees touch, but the ankles do not touch. The legs angle inward.
Infants start out with bowlegs because of their folded position in the uterus. The infant's bowlegs begin to straighten once the child starts to walk (at about 12 to 18 months). By age 3, the child develops knocked knees. When the child stands, the knees touch but the ankles are apart. By puberty, the legs straighten out and most children can stand with the knees and ankles touching (without forcing the position). Knock knees can also develop as a result of a medical problem or disease, such as:
- Injury of the shinbone (only one leg will be knock-kneed)
- Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
- Overweight or obesity
- Rickets (a disease caused by a lack of vitamin D)
Knock knees Treatment
Knock knees in children are usually not treated. If the problem is still present after age 7, the child may use a night brace, which is attached to a shoe or orthopedic shoe. Surgery may be considered to correct knock knees that persist beyond late childhood and in which the separation between the ankles is severe.
Children normally outgrow knock knees without treatment, unless it is caused by a disease. For cases needing surgery, the procedure provides good cosmetic results.
- Difficulty walking (very rare)
- Self-esteem changes related to cosmetic appearance of knock knees
- If left untreated, knock knees can lead to early arthritis of the knee
There is no known prevention for normal knock knees.