What is X-Legs (Genu Valgum)?

Knock Knees

Knock knees, medically known as genu valgum, is a condition in which the knees angle inward and touch each other while the ankles remain apart when standing with the feet together. 


Knock knees result in an inward angulation of the lower legs, causing the knees to touch or come close to each other while the ankles are apart. This gives the appearance of a gap between the feet when standing.


Knock knees can be either physiological or pathological. Physiological knock knees are common in young children as part of normal growth and development. The legs gradually straighten out as the child grows. Pathological knock knees may be caused by underlying factors such as bone deformities, growth plate abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, obesity, or certain medical conditions.


Knock knees usually become more pronounced during early childhood and tend to reach their maximum severity by around 4-6 years of age. As the child grows, the legs gradually straighten out, and the alignment improves. In some cases, knock knees may persist into adulthood if there are underlying skeletal abnormalities or other contributing factors.


Mild knock knees may not cause any symptoms or functional limitations. However, more severe cases can lead to problems such as an abnormal gait, balance issues, knee pain, joint stiffness, and increased stress on the inner knee structures.


A physical examination by a healthcare professional is typically sufficient to diagnose knock knees. Measurements of the distance between the knees and ankles may be taken to assess the severity of the condition. In some cases, X-rays or other imaging studies may be performed to evaluate the underlying bone structure.


Treatment for knock knees depends on the underlying cause, severity of the condition, age, and functional limitations. In most cases, physiological knock knees in children do not require treatment, as they tend to correct themselves with growth. Observation and regular follow-up may be recommended. For pathological or persistent knock knees causing functional problems, treatment options may include physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles, orthotic devices to provide support, weight management for obese individuals, or in rare cases, surgery to correct the alignment.