Conditions + Treatments

Knock Knees in Children

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Contact the Lower Extremity Program

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"Out of all the thousands of kids we see for this condition, maybe one in 1,000 won't straighten naturally. Just about 99 percent of the time, a 3 or 4 year-old with physiologic genu valgum is going to be just fine."

Samantha Spencer, MD, orthopedic surgeon, Boston Children's Hospital

If your child has been diagnosed with knock knees, you’ll have concerns and questions about her health, treatment, recovery and other issues. It may comfort you to know that Boston Children’s Hospital is a world leader in pediatric orthopedics, and we have a wealth of experience helping children with this fairly common condition. We specialize in innovative, family-centered care that supports your child and family every step of the way.

What to know about knock knees

Knock knees are angular deformities at the knee, in which the head of the deformity points inward.  A standing child whose knees touch but whose ankles do not is usually said to have knock knees. During childhood, knock knees are a stage in normal growth and development (physiologic valgus).*

* Between birth and 18 months, an outward-turning (varus) alignment from hip to knee to ankle is normal. Between about 18 and 24 months, this alignment normally becomes neutral. When the child is between 2 and 5 years old, an inward-turning (valgus) alignment is normal. The alignment returns to neutral as the child grows.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches knock knees

Doctors at Boston Children's closely monitor your child’s leg development, to make sure that her legs straighten themselves naturally. In the unlikely event that the condition doesn’t self-correct, your child’s doctors may have her wear corrective leg braces. Only children with the most severe cases may need surgery.

Whatever observation or treatment your child needs, you can have peace of mind knowing that as a national and international orthopedics referral center, our Orthopedic Center has vast experience treating children with every kind of developmental condition, some of which few other pediatric hospitals have ever encountered. As a result, we can provide expert diagnosis, treatment and care for every severity level of knock knees.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944