Pediatric Knock Knees
Knock knees occur when a child’s knees are misaligned and turn inward, but the ankles point outward.
Typically becoming apparent when a child is a toddler (age 1 to 3 years*), knock knees is a medical condition that is also known as a valgus knee or genu valgum. Girls are more likely to develop knock knees than boys due to their wider hips.
The abnormal rotation of the knees turning inward can cause stress on the hip and knee joints, which can lead to additional disorders as the child grows, including runner’s knee (where the cartilage under the kneecap weakens and deteriorates).
Knock knees can occur due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Bone tumors or bone infections – can cause distortions in the bones, causing the bowed appearance.
- Family history – can be an indicator; children with parents or siblings with knock knees are more likely to also have them.
- Fracture – can cause knock knees, especially if a broken bone doesn’t heal properly or grows at a different rate than the non-fractured bones.
- Rickets – causes bone deformities due to vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus deficiencies. Rickets can also be caused by an inherited genetic abnormality that causes the body to not correctly absorb vitamin D.
The main symptom of knock knees is an angled appearance of the knee. Other symptoms include:
- Joint stiffness
- Knee or hip pain
- Problems walking or with a limb
*Age of toddlers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).