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Home » Anatomy » Genu Valgum (Knock-Knees): A Guide for Parents and Adults

Genu Valgum (Knock-Knees): A Guide for Parents and Adults

Knock-knees, also known as genu valgum, are a common condition where the knees angle inward, causing the legs to appear bowlegged. While it often occurs naturally during childhood development, persistent knock-knees in older children or adults can be a cause for concern. This article will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for genu valgum, providing valuable information for parents and individuals experiencing this condition.

Causes of Genu Valgum:

  • Developmental: In young children, knock-knees are typically a normal part of bone growth and muscle development. This naturally corrects itself by age 7 or 8.
  • Skeletal abnormalities: Certain skeletal conditions, like rickets or Blount’s disease, can cause persistent knock-knees due to malformation of the bones.
  • Injuries: Trauma to the knee joint, such as fractures or ligament tears, can lead to misalignment and knock-knees.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, like arthritis or obesity, can put additional stress on the knee joint, contributing to genu valgum.

Symptoms of Genu Valgum:

  • The knees touch when standing with the ankles and feet together.
  • The legs appear bowlegged.
  • Inner ankle pain or discomfort.
  • Difficulty walking or running.
  • Uneven wear and tear on shoe soles.
  • In severe cases, instability and difficulty straightening the knee.

Treatment Options for Genu Valgum:

  • Observation: For mild cases in young children, observation and monitoring are often sufficient as the condition naturally corrects itself.
  • Bracing: In some cases, braces or splints may be used to gently guide the knee alignment during growth.
  • Physical therapy: Strengthening exercises for the muscles around the knee can improve stability and prevent further misalignment.
  • Surgery: In severe cases with persistent pain or functional limitations, surgical procedures to realign the bones or correct ligament issues may be necessary.


  • Is genu valgum always a cause for concern? No, mild knock-knees in young children are usually normal and correct themselves. However, persistent knock-knees in older children or adults, especially if accompanied by pain or difficulty walking, should be evaluated by a doctor.
  • What are the risks of untreated genu valgum? Untreated knock-knees can lead to chronic pain, instability, early arthritis, and difficulty with daily activities.
  • Can exercise or diet help with genu valgum? While exercise can strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve stability, it cannot directly correct the bone alignment. Maintaining a healthy weight can, however, reduce stress on the knee joint.
  • What is the recovery time after surgery for genu valgum? Recovery time after surgery for genu valgum varies depending on the severity of the procedure. Typically, it takes 6-12 weeks for full recovery and regaining normal function.


Genu valgum, or knock-knees, can be a normal part of development in children. However, persistent knock-knees in older children or adults can be due to various causes and may require medical attention. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help manage symptoms, prevent complications, and improve quality of life. If you are concerned about knock-knees in yourself or your child, consult a doctor for proper evaluation and guidance.

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