Talking to your child or teenager about their condition isn’t easy. With practical advice and support, we can help. Our qualified experts can answer your questions and help manage your concerns.
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Genu valgum, also known as knock knees, may be a passing trait in children. It can be seen in children from 2 to 5 years old and is often naturally corrected as children grow. When knock knees are severe, there can be strain on the knee, which results in pain.
Genu valgum can be passed down through genes, or it can happen because of injury, infection or a problem with metabolism that has affected the bones. It can be caused by poor nutrition – by obesity and, less commonly, by severe calcium and vitamin D deficiencies.
When standing, your child’s knees will touch or be closer together than the ankles, pushing the ankles further apart. Knock knees can cause pain, discomfort, a limp or difficulty walking.
An orthopedic specialist will look at the legs to see if the angle is not in a normal range. An X-ray of the knee may be needed to confirm the severity of knock knees.
This deformity can sometimes be managed with noninvasive methods, such as limits on activity, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, braces, exercise programs and physical therapy. When these methods don’t work, surgery may be needed. Osteotomy (the surgical cutting or removal of a piece of bone) and correction with external fixation is a useful way to support and straighten the limb in the management of genu valgum. Guided growth may be a good treatment in some cases.
If untreated, the symptoms can worsen, causing pain, problems with movement and even arthritis.