What Are Knocked Knees?

Knocked knees are an angular deformity of the knees, more prevalent in girls than boys. On standing the knees touch but the ankles do not, medically referred to as genu valgum.

During childhood, knocked knees are a part of normal growth and development. Knocked knees become apparent when a child is around 2 to 5 years old and may increase in severity during this time.

If this condition does not appear until a child is 6 years of age or older, an underlying bone disease may be present and needs to be investigated.

This lower limb condition will normally correct itself by the time the child is 7-8 years old. However in some cases this can continue on to adolescence.

Knocked Knees Snapshot

  • Commonly occurring in children
  • Can be painful
  • Easily treatable with conservative treatment
  • Can often cause gait disturbances


Causes of Knocked Knees

  • Obesity may contribute or cause changes in walking, resembling knocked knees, but is not a true angular deformity.
  • Normal growth development between the ages of 3-5.
  • Biomechanical abnormalities such as “rolling in” or flat feet can also exacerbate the angle of the knocked knees.
  • Bone diseases (i.e. rickets, scurvy’s or osteomyelitis).
  • Inherited condition.
  • Damage to the growth plate due to injury, which is often unilateral and causes only one knock-knee.


Knocked Knees Symptoms

  • Generally children are symptom free if the knee angulation is mild.
  • Depending on the severity, the child can have difficulty with walking,  sports and running.
  • Trips Easily.
  • Knee pain may present in some cases, due to abnormal loading and strain on the knees.


Treatment for Knocked Knees

  • Ongoing monitoring to make sure your child develops normally through their growth milestones 
  • Orthotic devices, braces and appropriate footwear to correct the biomechanical abnormalities of the feet and lower limbs.
  • 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 osteomyelitis is the causing factor (systemic antibiotics and possible surgery may be necessary).
  • Corrective surgery (osteotomy) may be recommended in cases where knock-knees is the result of an inherited bone deformity and is causing severe knee pain and problems walking.

Well Heeled Podiatry is trained and experienced in the assessment of your child’s lower limb development.

We will be able to devise a treatment plan that both you and your child are comfortable with to resolve any abnormal alignments, such as knocked knees.


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