Knock knees is a bone deformity that causes a wide gap between your feet to form while your knees are touching.
Also known as genu valgum, this bone malalignment is normal for children between the ages of 2 and 4.
By the time the child reaches 7 or 8 years old the problem often corrects itself.
However, if this lower leg deformity persists into the child’s adolescent years or even into adulthood it may mean there’s a much more serious underlying problem that needs to be treated.
For the most part, knock knees isn’t something to worry about early on until it begins to cause problems like chronic pain and difficulty walking.
In this article we’ll explore some of the common symptoms and underlying causes of genu valgum, and some of the best exercises you can do to help correct the problem.
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Knock Knees Symptoms
The most obvious symptom of knock knees is the wide spread between the feet and ankles while the knees remain together.
If you have knock knees you’ll notice that when you stand up straight your knees will be touching one another while you have a distance between your ankles of 3 inches or more.
Another common symptom of knock knees is the chronic pain you may experience in your lower legs due to your knees constantly rubbing against each other.
People with knock knees may also experience minor to severe pain in their back and hips due to this malalignment.
Arthritis is yet another knock knee symptom you have to be on the look out for.
When your knees are constantly “knocking” against one another it places a lot of extra pressure on your knees, which can increase the chances of you developing arthritis in the near future.
Knee Knocking Causes
Even though knock knees are pretty common among small children under the age of 7, if this lower leg deformity doesn’t improve with age, it could be due to an underlying cause such as:
- Fracture – Any type of bone fracture around the knee can cause them to begin turning inward.
- Obesity – Being overweight can easily cause knock knees because it places a lot of unwanted pressure on your knees to the point where they can’t grow properly.
- Rickets – This is a vitamin deficiency disorder that occurs when you’re not getting enough calcium or vitamin D. This is actually one of the main causes of knock knees in children according to My Knock Knee Fix.
- Bone Infection – An infection in the bone such as osteomyelitis can also lead to your knees turning inward.
These are some of the common underlying causes of knock knees that could be causing the inward curvature around your knees.
The only way to be sure what’s causing you or your child’s knocked knees is to get a proper diagnosis from an experienced orthopedic surgeon.
How to Correct Knock Knees / Knocking Knees
If your child is under the age of 7 their knock knees may be part of their normal growth process.
However, if he or she is over the age of 7 then the best option for treatment may be guided growth surgery.
When it comes to knock knees in adulthood there are a number of different exercises that can help straighten the inward curvature if performed regularly each day.
These exercises aren’t recommended for small children because their bones haven’t fully developed yet.
Best Exercises for Knock Knees
If you’re one of the many people suffering from the symptoms of knock knees then giving these exercises a try may be worth your while.
These exercises may take a little longer to work compared to risky and expensive surgery but you won’t have to worry about any of the unwanted side effects that come along with going under the knife.
Some of the best knock knee exercises include:
One of the best exercises for knock knees is definitely side lunges.
This simple yet effective exercise works by strengthening your hip abductors.
When your hip abductors become too weak they can cause your knees to pull inward towards one another, which causes knock knees.
To do this exercise follow the steps below:
- Start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Now, take one step towards the right with your right foot as far as you can. As you step as wide as you can with your right foot make sure your left leg remains as straight as possible.
- Once your right foot has stretched out as far as it can go to the right while keeping your left foot firmly planted in front of you, you are going to return it back to the starting position.
Repeat these steps above about 10 times and then switch to your left leg.
Step-ups are another one of the best exercises to cure knock knees because they work all the major muscles in the lower body.
The main muscles this exercise works to help correct genu valgum include the glutes and hamstrings.
To do this exercise properly follow the steps below:
- First, get yourself an exercise bench or a stool and stand next to it.
- Now, place one foot on top of the stool or bench and keep your other leg as straight as possible with your hands at your sides.
- Next, push yourself up with the foot you have on top of the stool or bench and keep your other leg disengaged as it isn’t suppposed to support this motion.
- Once you’ve pushed your body all the way up by using the foot you stepped on the bench with go ahead and return to the starting position by dropping back down and placing the other leg back onto the ground. The leg you used to step up should still be positioned on the exercise bench.
Repeat this step-up movement at least 10 times with the same foot and then switch to the other side.
Single-Leg Band Stretches
Another great knock knees exercise is the single-leg band stretch that will help by strengthening your hip flexor muscles.
Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that are responsible for bringing your legs forward and back when you walk or run.
When these muscles become too tight or weakened they can cause your knees to begin to turn inward.
To correct your knock knees with single-leg band stretches do the following:
- First, place an exercise band around the ankle of one of your legs.
- Next, place the other end of the exercise band around a an object that is stable and won’t move.
- Now, stand next to the stable object you have the other end of the exercise band around and begin stretching the band by swinging your leg outward to the side.
- Once you’ve extended your legs as far as they can go you’re going to want to hold this position for at least 5 seconds before returning to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise at least 10 times before switching to the other leg and repeating the steps above.
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These are some of the best exercises for knock knees.
Just keep in mind that children with knock knees is perfectly normal and shouldn’t be a reason for concern.
However, if your child’s knock knees get worse as he or she gets older it may be time to seek some medical advice.
These exercises are more for adults with genu valgum who wish to correct knock knees without surgery.
If you wish to get yourself or your child diagnosed and treated for knock knees it’s a good idea to set up an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon or bone specialist.
The orthopedic surgeon will perform a series of tests on your lower legs such as an X-ray to determine the underlying cause of your knock knees, as well as recommendations to fix it.