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Plymouth Paediatric Orthopaedics

Knock Knees and Bow Legs

Most young children have bowed legs - genu varum. This can be very marked in some. It is usual for their legs to become straight by the age of 18 months to 2 years, eventually adopting an adult limb alignment of slight knock knees - genu valgum, by the time they start school.

Some children may remain bow legged for a slightly longer period, or become more knock kneed with time. Very rarely is treatment required for either condition and all sporting activities should continue. If the limb alignment is not symmetrical or progressively worsening, then your GP may feel that an orthopaedic opinion from one of us is required.

School aged children with knock knees are often also flat footed and ligamentously lax - “double jointed”. Again treatment is rarely required.

Copyright - Elselvier

Development of the tibiofemoral angle during growth. This graph shows the normal physiologic progression of bowlegs to knock-knees and then to normal during the early years of growth. (Reprinted from Bruce RW Jr: Torsional and angular deformities. Pediatr Clin North Am 1996;43:867-881.)