Knocked knees (also referred to as genu valgum) is a common condition in children and a part of normal development. In some cases knocked knees can develop due to other medical conditions such as over pronation (ankle rolling in), injury to the shin, bone infection, nutritional deficiencies or obesity.
As the name suggests, knocked knees is a description of when the knees come close together during running, walking or standing and the ankles do not touch.
Babies tend to have bowed legs, which gradually progress to knocked knees, most obvious at the age of 2-4. By the age of 5-7 the leg position will start to straighten.
There is usually no pain associated with knocked knees, although some severe cases may cause knee pain, a limp or difficulty walking, running and playing sports. Knock knees that do not improve may place the knees under extra pressure, which may increase the risk of developing arthritis.
If knocked knees are problematic or persists into later childhood, treatment may be recommended.
Treatment may involve:
- Ongoing monitoring to make sure your child develops normally through their milestones of development.
- Footwear recommendations.
- Custom made orthotic therapy – orthotics may be prescribed to address any biomechanical factors such as over pronation.
- Exercises to strengthen the muscles within the quadriceps group.
- If your child’s knock knee is caused by an underlying condition, such as rickets or scurvy, the condition will need to be treated.
If the patient is not responsive to conservative treatment or an underlying medical condition is present corrective surgery (osteotomy) may be recommended.