Knock Knees (Valgus Knee Deformity)

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is one of the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals in pediatric orthopedics. We offer comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions such as knock knees. Our goal is to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes in a family-centered environment.

Why Choose Gillette?

  • Gillette is one of the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals in pediatric orthopedics.
  • We provide nonsurgical and surgical treatments that allow our patients to achieve the best possible outcomes in terms of function and appearance.
  • Our specialists collaborate to provide care for children who have related conditions and other complex issues.
  • We believe that clinical research and an emphasis on outcomes promote the highest standards of care.

Definition

Knock knees (genu valgum or valgus knee deformity) is a condition in which the knees touch while the ankles are apart. Knock knees is often a typical part of development during early childhood (age 3 or 4). Normally, knock knees corrects itself by age 8. Sometimes, however, knock knees continues or develops later in childhood or adolescence.


Knock Knees Symptoms and Effects

Some common symptoms and effects of knock knees are:

  • A gap between the ankles is present when knees are touching
  • Excessive inward angle of the knee
  • Changes in gait

Knock Knees Incidence, Causes and Risk Factors

In most cases, knock knees is simply a normal part of growth and development. Sometimes, however, the following underlying conditions might cause knock knees:

  • Injury to the growth plate of the knee (femur and tibia)
  • Damage to the growth plate from a previous bone or joint infection—such as osteomyelitis
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Nutritional deficiencies—such as Rickets
  • Irregular bone growth (skeletal dysplasia)

It’s common for young children have knock knees to some degree. The condition also tends to run in families. If left untreated in older children, severe knock knees can lead to early development of pain or arthritis in the knees.


Knock Knees Tests and Treatment

At Gillette, our specialists diagnose knock knees using a physical examination and a review of the patient’s medical history. The physical exam might include:

  • Assessing the child’s height, weight, length and body mass index (BMI)
  • Observing the child’s gait
  • Assessing lower leg alignment and symmetry
  • Assessing lower leg range of motion

If we suspect knock knees is caused by an underlying medical condition or if there are signs that knock knees isn’t part of normal development, we might take X-rays for a more detailed view of the bones.

In the majority of cases, knock knees corrects itself and only observation is needed. In rare cases in which the condition continues after age 8, our specialists might recommend the following treatments.

Bracing

In extremely rare cases when knock knees doesn’t correct itself, we might recommend custom braces.

Surgery

When knock knees doesn’t correct itself, we might recommend surgery. Depending on the child’s age, the severity and cause of the condition, our orthopedic surgeons might recommend one of the following surgeries to correct knock knees.

Guided Growth Surgery: This surgery slows the growth of bone on the inside of the knee. It’s typically performed only on children while they are still growing.

Osteotomy Surgery: An osteotomy surgery involves cutting and re-aligning the bones to better position the leg. This helps distribute weight more evenly around the knee.


Knock Knees Services

At Gillette, we know that a team approach to care produces the best outcomes. Our experts collaborate to provide comprehensive services in a way that’s convenient for families. In addition to receiving care from our experts in Orthopedics, patients who have knock knees might also receive care from staff in:

We also welcome the involvement of primary care providers, teachers, and school or community therapists. Working together, we help patients achieve their best possible outcomes.

For information about the comprehensive services we provide at Gillette, search Conditions and Care.

Why Gillette?

Because all children deserve a lifetime of amazing health care.

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