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Knock Knees: Know The Treatment

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Knock Knees: Know The Treatment

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 03/12/2020 by Dr. Hitesh Joshi

Knock knees, also known as Genu valgum are a kind of deformity in the human body. Knock knees, a part of regular growth and development is quite common in children under the age of 6 and 7. Having said that, knock knees may develop later in childhood and adulthood as well. Adults too can develop knock knees. Usually, if an individual is suffering from Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis, the chances of getting knocked knee are higher vis-a-vis any other adult.  Let us explore more about Knock knees and their available treatments.

How can you visibly identify knock-knees?

Have you anytime noticed that a few Individuals have a deformity where they are unable to touch their feet together while simultaneously straightening the legs? Such states of severe valgus deformities are typically known as Genu valgum, commonly called “Knockknees“. Knock Knees are a kind of knee imbalance seen when a person is standing straight with his knees together, but their feet and ankles are apart.

How to know if a person suffers from Knock knees?

Knock-knees are usually determined by directly measuring the tibiofemoral angle or by measuring the intermalleolar distance. At times, Scans or X-Rays are taken to highlight these deformities.

When a child is born, the deformity that he may encounter is bow legs (Genu varum). This is a condition when the child stands with his feet together but knees apart. This is a normal part of many children’s growth cycle and usually eases out as the child grows – generally when he attains 2 years of age. There is a possibility that he may get Knock knees (Genu valgum) at the age of four which is a condition quite the opposite of Bow legs. Usually, things start becoming normal when he attains eight years and gets best at a maximum of eleven years of age.

It has been noticed in India that, perhaps due to ethnicity and background, the knees of South Indian children tend to straighten out shortly after birth even though they may have been suffering from Knock knees. Also, it has been observed that girls show a higher percentage of these cases than boys.

A quick Q and A:

Parents usually are curious to know how to go about getting this disorder corrected. Hence, here is a list of questions from parents and solutions that can be used as references.

Q. Can Knock knees be treated with Surgery?

A. Yes.

Q. Is there any age limit for Knock Knees surgery?

A. No, there is no age limit for corrective surgery for knock knees.

Q. Is the same surgery done for all age groups?

A. No, the surgical techniques may vary depending on age. This is due to children having the advantage of still growing their limbs which can positively straighten their knees out. Hence the surgery will be a minor one compared to an adult.

Q. What should an adult do in this situation?

A. Adults can benefit from osteotomy surgery on knee correction. Aged patients with arthritis normally receive a knee replacement to treat both problems successfully. Knee replacement is a common surgery nowadays and people lead normal life post-op.

Q. Should I be consulting a doctor if I see my child not keeping his legs straight?

A. Yes, it is important to consult with a physician to determine the best course of treatment.

Q. What else can be recommended for treating this?

  • The doctor will prescribe a few medicines to get started.
  • He may guide you to a physiotherapist who will do a few exercises with the patient to help him with flexibility. This may take over a couple of sessions.
  • The doctor may suggest that the patient lose weight.
  • Shoe inserts called Orthotics may be prescribed.
  • Finally, surgery may be recommended. This only happens when the condition is severe and the above treatments may not be of any relief. The surgery may be involving either influencing bone growth or slitting and straightening the thigh bone or shin bone. Very rarely, the doctor may recommend a knee replacement. For most people with Knock-knees, exercise can help realign and stabilize their knees. The doctor and physiotherapist suggest some good exercises to strengthen the patient’s leg, hip, and thigh muscles. Specific stretching may also be useful in relieving the pain. In dire situations, surgeries are recommended.


In most cases, people think that knock-knee child patients will never be able to live like normal people as they are under the impression that surgeries can only be conducted on adults. This is not true. It has been scientifically proven that knock-knee people can carry out their day-to-day activities effectively and also surgeries can be done on a person of any age, either a child of age 5 or an adult of age 30.  The only requirement is identifying the problem and looking for the right cure.