Testing & Diagnosis for Knock Knees in Children

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At Boston Children’s Hospital, we know that the first step to treating your child’s knock knees is to form a timely, complete and accurate diagnosis. To diagnose your child’s knock knees, the doctor will conduct a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor will take your child’s complete prenatal, birth and family medical history.

Diagnosing knock knees

Knock knees become apparent when a child stands with her legs straight and toes pointed forward. Your child’s doctor can determine the severity of her knock knees by observing the position of her legs, knees and ankles, and by measuring the distance between her inner ankle bones—the condition is considered more severe the wider the distance between the ankles.

The doctor’s exam for diagnosing knock knees may include:

•   measurements of your child’s length and height
•   measurements of her weight and body mass index (BMI)
•   measurements taken of knee extensions and rotations
•   assessment of leg-lengths and leg symmetry
•   observation and assessment of her gait

Radiology testing for knock knees

If your child is within the normal age for knock knees, has a normal exam with a typical appearance and no functional problems, Boston Children’s doctors don’t usually take x-rays, preferring to avoid unnecessary radiation.

If she’s older than the usual age range, or if her legs aren’t symmetrical, our doctors usually opt for standing x-rays.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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