Knock Knees

Also known as: genu valgum

What are knock knees?

When a child’s legs are bent inward at the knee (the opposite of bowlegs), this condition is known as knock knees, or genu valgum.

What causes knock knees?
The precise cause of knock knees is not always clear. Often, children will develop some degree of knock knees during the first 3-4 years of growth as part of normal growth and development.  This form of knock knees will often go away spontaneously. Others may develop it as part of another bone disease, as a result of an injury or infection, or for other reasons.

What are the symptoms of knock knees?
Other than the physical symptoms of the knees touching while the ankles do not, other signs of knock knees include difficulty walking or an unusual walking pattern. Pain is a rare symptom of knock knees in children and adolescents.

What are knock knees care options?
Some cases of knock knees resolve on their own and observation for several years may be indicated, especially in young children. Other cases may require a small outpatient surgery to modulate growth, and some cases may require more extensive surgery to realign the bone.  

Reviewed by: Scott J Schoenleber, MD

This page was last updated on: 8/7/2018 9:37:29 AM

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January Patient of the Month: Layla
When Layla was 5, she came to Nicklaus Children's Hospital with a severe case of scoliosis. To help straighten her spine, Layla spent time in halo gravity traction. While her mom returned home to Gainesville for work and school, the nurses at Nicklaus Children's took care of Layla, acting as substitute mothers and making sure she was well cared for.
January Patient of the Month: Layla
When Layla was 5, she came to Nicklaus Children's Hospital with a severe case of scoliosis. To help straighten her spine, Layla spent time in halo gravity traction. While her mom returned home to Gainesville for work and school, the nurses at Nicklaus Children's took care of Layla, acting as substitute mothers and making sure she was well cared for.