Knock knees is the common term for a condition in which a person's knees touch each other when he stands but the distance between the ankles is large. The medical term is genu valgum. Many children have knock knees from toddlerhood on. According to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, "Up to three quarters of children between the age of three and five have the condition and it usually corrects itself by the age of about seven." If it does not improve after age 7, surgery may be needed if the condition is severe.
- Skill level:
Determine that the person does in fact have knock knees. Telltale signs, apart from the knee-ankle relationship, are difficulty walking, a strange gait or both. The most qualified person to diagnose the condition is of course a doctor specialising in bone disfigurements.
Consider the person's age and listen to your doctor's recommendations. For a young child, the physician is likely to tell you just to wait and see if the condition corrects itself. It almost always does.
Make sure your child is not vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, which is a childhood disease that may result in knock knees. You also want to make sure your child is not overweight, as this will worsen the condition.
Consider using a leg brace at night on the child if the condition persists. According to childrenshospital.org, "A night brace is attached to a shoe and works by pulling the knee up into a straight position." Another alternative is to use orthopaedic shoes with a heel lift and possibly an arch support.
Consider corrective surgery if your child still has knock knees at age 10. The best time to do the surgery for girls is at age 10, and for boys it's age 11. It's not easy to correct the condition later in life.
Look into total knee replacement if you are an adult with knock knees that keep bothering you. This is the only way to correct them permanently. Otherwise you will need to use orthopaedic appliances.
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