Genu Valgum is the medical term for when legs appear ‘knock knee’ and the knees angle inwards and the lower leg angles outwards. (This is the opposite condition to Genu Varus, or bowlegs – you can find out more about this here). ‘Genu’ means ‘knee’ in Latin and ‘Valgum’ means outwards. Hence, there are a number of ‘valgus’ conditions, including Hallux Valgus (bunions) – toe outwards.
Genu Valgum (knock kneed); Genu Varus (bowlegged) – it’s vital to have your child’s feet and legs checked when they start school.
Those with Genu Valgum are typically unable to touch their feet together when legs are straightened.
It is not uncommon for young children up to the age of 5 to appear ‘knock kneed’ and they mostly grow out of it as their skeleton develops and strengthens.
• Disease (e.g. Rickets)
• Congenital (inherited)
When the legs are ‘knock kneed’ there also tend to be other biomechanical issues evident. These include a tendency for collapsed medial long arches (or the appearance of ‘flat feet’), over-pronation of the sub-talar joints.
If left uncorrected in childhood, this can cause pain and problems in later life. These include early onset osteoarthritis in the lower limb joints such as the knee due to the malalignment and increased stress load.
Treatments in childhood commonly include corrective custom orthotic therapy, worn inside school and sports shoes, whilst the child is still growing.