Growing Feet. Part 2, Knock knees and bow legs

Often another concern for parents is the positioning of their child’s knees. The two primary concerns that present to podiatry clinics are genu valgum (knock knees) and genu varum (bow legs). The point that most parents do not know is that a child may naturally find their knees in either position at different points in time. As their hip, abdominal, thigh and leg muscles develop, the knee position will generally stabilise to a neutral position however in some people an abnormal alignment may persist.

Genu Varum (Bow legs)

This positioning is often first noticeable in children aged up to 2 years of age. This abnormality is characterised by a prominent bowing between the two limbs. It is seen in both boys and girls and will usually correct itself by 4 years of age, often to form a partially knock knee position. If the abnormality persists past the 4 year age cut off, physical therapies, orthotic devices and further investigation may be warranted

Genu Valgum (knock knees)

As the child grows, the original genu varum position will change to a genu valgum position. This will further correct to the normal (rectus) position by the time the child reaches early adulthood. Girls are often more affected than boys. Knock knees are characterised by a decreased distance between the knees. A distance of about 8cm is considered normal. The abnormality is considered to be physiological meaning that the abnormality will spontaneously correct itself by 14-16 years of age. Physical therapies, orthotics and surgery may be indicated if the alignment issue persists past the cut off age for improvement.

However, it is highly recommended that if you have any concerns about your childs knees, it is always best to get a personalised podiatry opinion.

Dr Anel Kapur (Podiatrist)