Knock knees, also known as genu valgum, will lead to developing a large gap between feet while standing with knees together. Often, young children will develop them, where it’s most apparent around age 4, and their legs will straighten by age six or seven. Mild knock knees can continue in adulthood, but it isn’t something to worry about unless it causes other symptoms or problems. It can rarely be a symptom of a condition that requires needs treatment.
Knock knees symptoms
When a person with knock knees stands with their knees together, the lower part of their legs (under the knee) will spread on its own, and the ankles will be further apart than usual. There will be a small distance between both ankles, which is normal, but the gap can be up to 3 inches or more for people with knock knees. Usually, it won’t cause any other problems, some severe cases can cause a limp, knee pain, or difficulty walking. When it doesn’t improve on its own, it will tend to put more pressure on your knees, increasing the risk of developing arthritis.
Knock knees causes
Knock knee that develops later in childhood or doesn’t improve can be a cause of underlying conditions like:
- Rickets: It leads to a lack of bone development due to reduced calcium and vitamin D
- Extra pressure on the knees: This might be a result of obesity or losing knee ligaments
- An injury or infection
- A genetically inherited condition that affects the development of the joints or bones
Adults developing knock knees are often associated with joint problems like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Often they don’t require any treatments since they usually get better over age but rarely require surgery or medications, depending on the severity of the condition.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022