Knock Knees, also known as Genu Valgum, is an orthopedic condition that causes the knees to bend inwards and touch each other. The condition is common during a child’s developmental stage, till the age of 2 or 3 years and gets self-corrected with age. However, in rare cases when knees begin to knock after the age of 6 years, it can be an indicator of an underlying bone disorder.
- Osteomyelitis, a bone infection
- Infection or injury to the shinbone
- Irregular bone growth
- Genetic skeletal abnormalities
- More than 10 cm of gap between both ankles
- Changes in gait patterns
- Excessive inward angle of knees
- Pain at the anterior part of the knee, in severe cases
Diagnosing Knock Knees involves a thorough physical examination and a review of the patient’s medical history. The orthopedic doctor may observe the positons of the patient’s lower legs, ankles and knees. He may measure the distance between the inner parts of the ankle joints to assess the severity of the condition. The doctor may also evaluate certain other factors including:
- Height, weight and body mass index (BMI)
- Walking pattern
- Skeletal alignment of the lower leg
- Range of motion of the lower leg
If the condition does not subside after the age of 7 or 8 years, the orthopedic doctor may recommend the following treatment:
Wearing a brace during nighttime may help to straighten and restore the normal alignment of the knees. Depending upon the severity of the condition, the doctor may recommend a customized knee brace for effective results.
Performing certain exercises, as prescribed by the physical therapist, may help to strengthen the knee muscles so that they are better able to bear the weight of the body.
In severe cases, the patient may be recommended to undergo any of the following surgical treatment.
- Osteotomy: This involves manipulating the knee bones to bring the joint back to their normal position. The procedure also helps in even distribution of weight through the knee.
- Guided Growth Surgery: This surgery slows down the growth of knee bone. Guided growth surgery is usually recommended for children who are in their developmental stage.