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Genu valgum

Genu valgum, also known as knock knees is a kind of leg deformity, where the legs are turned inwards with the knees touching each other and ankles remaining apart. It is normally noticed in some infants and usually resolves on its own in the growing years. Legs get completely straightened by the time they reach seven to eight years.

Typically a small gap between the feet and ankles is normal. However if children have a gap of more than 10 cm between their ankles or present an excessive inward or outward knee angle, they must be examined. Such children might have difficulty walking or might walk with an awkward gait. A family history of skeletal problems might also lead to knock knees in children. In adults, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can lead to knock knees. Very rarely, Genu valgum may be caused by pathological reasons and in such cases, the deformity continues to stay or worsen well beyond the adolescent years. Some of the medical conditions that may lead to pathological Genu valgum are:

  • Rickets
  • Trauma to the shinbone (in such case single leg will have Genu valgum)
  • Bone infection
  • Obesity

Diagnosis and treatment

Knock knees are diagnosed through clinical examination. No further tests are ordered for small children. Physiological Genu valgum gets resolved as the child grows. There is no treatment involved here. Yet, regular monitoring is required to assess the progress. However if the problem persists into late childhood, orthopaedic investigation is required. The treatment for pathological Genu valgum involves recommending braces, exercise programmes and lifestyle restrictions. In rare cases surgery may be advised to achieve alignment of the legs.

Tags: #Genu valgum
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 7, 2022