Knock Knees and Bow Legs – How to fix them?

Knock knees and bow legs are both common conditions where the knees and ankles are not in alignment with each other. 

A slight angle of bowing or knocking is considered normal. However, if your child or an adult has severe knock-knees or bowlegs, you must have an orthopedic doctor in Punjab examine him or her.

What are Bow Legs?

Also called Genu varum, it is a condition where the knees do not join and curve out. The joints are spaced apart while the ankles are close together. Babies are usually born with physiologic bow legs that tend to straighten by the age of 2 years.

What are Knock Knees?

Knock knees or Genu valgum is a condition where the feet do not join when standing with the legs joined together. The knees tilt towards each other and legs stay apart. It usually impacts both legs but it may happen that only one knee is knocking the other. It affects people of all ages. 

Bowlegs- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment 

Causes

Bowlegs in infants correct themselves as they grow. However, in rare cases, they may not, indicating a critical medical situation. The following are the plausible causes:- 

  1. Rickets- An abnormal condition of the bones that rises due to lack of vitamin D. It makes the leg bones grow in curvature rather than straight. Rickets may also be hereditary.
  2. Blount disease A bone growth deformity that affects the leg bones. 
  3. Knee Injury- Injuries, tumors, or infections around the knees at an early age also may cause bow legs.
  4. Overweight – Obesity and too much weight gain.
  5. Walking Early- The child started walking at a very early age 

When should you see a doctor?

Slight bow legs are not a concern as such. But, you must consult a bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon) in the following conditions.

  1. The legs are not straightening up with age.
  2. The curves are asymmetric, i.e, both legs are curved at different angles.
  3. The kid is experiencing pain, has a limp, trouble running, and/or weakness in the legs.

Treatment for Bow Legs

The orthopedic surgeon would examine the legs and confirm the cause through an expert diagnosis. The treatment would depend on that.  

Physiological bow legs are normal and require no treatment. 

A child with Rickets is treated by supplementing vitamin D in the diet.

Blount diseased bowlegs can be cured with surgery or braces. 

Knock Knees- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Causes 

Genu valgum is a condition where knees are wrongly aligned and ‘ knock’ against each other. It can be acquired at any age. If left untreated, it can cause knee pain and deformity which worsens over time. 

It is usually developed when the infant is learning to balance and walk. If the condition persists even after seven years of age, it is a knock knee syndrome. 

Various known causes are;

  1. Injury- a physical impact de-aligns the joint
  2. Arthritis – degeneration of bone or joint
  3. Osteomyelitis – inflammation of leg bones
  4. Kidney failure- renal function failure  
  5. Rickets- vitamin D deficiency
  6. Genetic conditions- acquired through heredity 
  7. Fractures that malformed at union
  8. Bone tumors- benign tumors near the joints
  9. Obesity – excess weight-bearing by the legs 

When to see the doctor?

When a young child has knock-knees, it becomes apparent mostly around the age of three. A slight angle is considered normal, that settles around 5-9 degrees by the age of seven. 

A larger angle that persists beyond that with the following symptoms mandates consultation with an orthopedic surgeon. 

  1. Visible deformity in a kid under the age of two years.
  2. knocking in kids that keeps deteriorating with age instead of correcting.
  3. Pain in the hips or knees.
  4. Pain in the ankle or foot.
  5. Difficulty in walking or running.
  6. Stiff joints with reduced range of motion.
  7. Progressing knee-joint arthritis 

Adult patients with long-acquired Genu valgum experience instability and degeneration of the joint.

Treatment for Knock Knees

An orthopedic surgeon will examine & diagnose the extent of the condition. Dr. Tanveer Bhutani, a bone specialist at Eva Ortho Centre says, “Preliminary examination evaluates the physical condition of the legs and the gait. 

We include X-ray alignment tests and radio imaging of the entire hip and ankle region.” The precise location and the axis of the deformity sum up the diagnosis.

For severe cases( large angle), knee-realignment is the answer. Surgery is the best way to correct knocking. Braces and other devices do not show satisfactory results. Eva Orthopedic Center has enormous expertise in managing all aspects of knock knees. 

For growing children, knee alignment can be surgically altered too, with minimally invasive surgery. However, the procedure is usually postponed till the time they are 10 years old.

If there are any other underlying causes such as infection, tumor, or bone disease, they are addressed medically first.

Things to Know 

You do not need to restrict children with physiologic bow legs in running, walking, or playing just like other kids of their age. If a child has recurring knee injuries and sprains, maybe she has knock knees.