What is Knee Deformity?
The knee deformity occurs because of the difference in growth of both the sides of the knee joint, which means that if there is more growth in bones around the knee joint on the inner side, the leg will bend inward or outward causing bow legs or knock knees respectively. This can happen in case of traumatic injury, metabolic disorders like rickets, dysplasia, physical injuries. The children need to be reviewed periodically to make sure that the deformity does not recur.
What is Knock Knees?
Knock knees is also known as Genu Valgum. It is a knee misalignment that turns your knees inward. When children with knock-knees stand up with their knees together, there’s a gap of 3 inches or more between their ankles. This is because their knees are bent inward. The symptoms may include an unusual walking pattern, difficulty walking, and rare instances of pain.
Knock-knees is very common in children and it usually corrects itself as they grow. Children between the ages 3 and 5 have knock knees but it also develops later in life from:
- an injury or infection in your knee
- severe lack of vitamin D and calcium
- arthritis in the knee
This condition cannot be prevented, but its effects can be minimized. Physical therapy and exercise are a successful alternative to surgery.
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What are the Symptoms of Knock Knees?
Knock-knees that persist beyond childhood may have other symptoms besides misaligned knees. They include:
- stiff joints
- knee pain
- walking with a limp
Stressed ligaments and muscles can also cause pain in your hips, ankles, or feet. If only one knee is out of line, then your stance may be unbalanced.
What Causes Knock Knees?
The exact cause is not clear but it seems to run in families and obesity makes knock knees more severe. Children in their first 3-4 years of growth will often develop a mild degree of knock knees that resolve spontaneously. However, some cases are a result of additional bone diseases or injuries. This may also be caused by:
- injury or infection in your knee
- bone malformation from rickets, a disease caused by lack of vitamin D and calcium
- other bone diseases
- obesity, which puts extra pressure on your knees
- arthritis in your knee joints
How is Knock Knees Diagnosed?
During a physical examination, your doctor will observe how you stand and walk. They will also assess:
- Inequality in your leg length
- Your knee alignment angle
- Uneven wear on the soles of your shoes
In some cases, your doctor may ask for X-ray or MRI scan to look at your bone structure.
What are Treatment Options for Knock Knees ?
In many cases, parents can expect that a child’s knock-knees will resolve by age 8 but for some a course of physical therapy and exercises can help realign their knees. It can also strengthen the surrounding muscles and avoid damage to other joints. If these efforts are not successful then surgery may be performed to realign your knees. However, treatment for knock knees depends on the cause and severity of your symptoms. For example, if rickets are causing your knock-knees, your doctor will prescribe vitamin D and calcium supplements to help your child restore levels.
Exercise – For most people with knock-knees, exercise can help realign and stabilize their knees. The physical therapist can evaluate your child’s gait and suggest exercises designed to strengthen your child’s leg, hip, and thigh muscles. Specific stretches will also be useful in relieving symptoms.
Orthotics – If your child’s legs are of unequal length as a result of knock knee, 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 knock knee does not resolve by age 8, a brace or a splint may help guide bone growth.
Surgery – When knock knee is severe, or when exercise is not enough to relieve pain and stabilize your knee, your doctor may recommend surgery.
For children, 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 the bone growth is corrected.
Care at Treatment Possible:
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