What are the symptoms of knock knees?
A standing child of average weight whose knees touch, but whose ankles do not, is usually considered to have knock knees. An abnormal walking gait can also be a sign of the condition. The condition usually becomes apparent when a child is 2 to 3 years old, and it may increase in severity until about age 4. It usually self-corrects by the time a child is about 7 or 8 years old. But if the condition doesn’t appear until a child is 6 or older, it could be a sign that there is an underlying bone disease.
During early childhood, knock-knees actually help a child to maintain balance, particularly when the child begins to walk, or if the foot rolls inward or turns outward. When a child has knock knees, both knees usually lean inward symmetrically. One knee, however, may “knock” less than the other or may even remain straight.
Occasionally, knock knees persist into adolescence. The condition is slightly more common in girls, although boys can develop it, too.
What causes knock knees?
Knock knees are usually part of the normal growth and development of the lower extremities. Some cases, especially in a child who’s 6 or older, may be a sign of an underlying bone disease, such as osteomalacia or rickets. Obesity can contribute to knock knees—or can cause gait (walking) problems that resemble, but aren’t actually, knock knees. The condition can occasionally result from an injury to the growth area of the shin bone (tibia), which may result in just one knocked knee. In the course of developing normal alignment of their lower extremities, all young children have knock knees to some degree for a period of time. At the age of 3, more than 20 % of children have at least a 5-centimeter gap between their ankles. By the age of 7, only 1 % of children have this gap.
How is Genu Valgum treated?
Treatment for Genu Valgum depends on the cause and severity of your symptoms. For example, if rickets are causing your knock-knees, Dr. Aniruddh Ambekar at Lifelline Medicare Hospitals may likely prescribe vitamin D and calcium supplements to help restore your levels. He may also prescribe prescription-strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs if over-the-counter options, like naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), aren’t providing relief.
Some tips from Dr. Aniruddh Ambekar:
Weight loss : Obesity can put added stress on your knees, worsening Genu Valgum. If you’re overweight, he will work with you to develop a healthy weight loss plan.
Exercise : For most people with Genu Valgum, exercise can help realign and stabilize their knees. He with your physical therapist can evaluate your gait and suggest exercises designed to strengthen your leg, hip, and thigh muscles. Specific stretches may also be useful in relieving symptoms. Strengthening exercises can be simple, such as leg raises while seated or lying down. As you progress with an exercise routine, you may add leg weights to make it more effective.
Orthotics : If your legs are of unequal length as a result of Genu Valgum, a heel insert into the shoe on the shorter side can equalize your leg length and help regularize your gait. It may also relieve leg pain. For children whose Genu Valgum doesn’t resolve by age 8, a brace or a splint may help guide bone growth.
Surgery : When Genu Valgum is severe, or when exercise isn’t enough to relieve pain and stabilize your knee, Dr. Aniruddh Ambekar may recommend Surgery. For younger people, a small metal plate inserted in their knee can help direct future bone growth. This minor procedure is called Guided Growth Surgery. The plate is removed when bone growth is corrected. Adults may benefit from an osteotomy. This surgery uses permanent metal plates to keep bones aligned. This can adjust your leg bones and realign your knees. Knee Replacement Surgery is also an option for older adults.