Knock Knees

What are knock knees?

If you stand with your knees together and there is a large gap between the feet you may have knock knees. 

What causes knock knees?

It is a normal part of the growth and development for children under the ages of 6 or 7. In instances where knocked knees develop later in childhood or do not improve with age, an underlying condition such as:

  • Rickets can cause problem with bone development resulting from a lack of vitamin D or Calcium.
  • Obesity or lax ligaments, excessive pressure may be placed on the knees.
  • A disease or injury may affect the knees or leg bones.
  • There are genetic conditions that can affect the development of bones and joints.

Adults can sometimes develop knock knees. These cases are often associated with joint problems such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.


Who gets affected by knocked knees?

Many young children have knocked knees, which are typically most noticeable around age 4.

As the child grows, the legs gradually straighten, although mild knock knees can persist into adulthood.

Knee deformities may continue into adulthood. This is usually not cause for concern unless it causes issues.

Occasionally, however, knocked knees may indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment, especially if they develop in older children or adults or if they do not improve with age.

What are the symptoms?

If you stand with your knees together, the distance between your feet and ankles will be greater than normal.

In people with knocked knees, the distance between the ankle and the knee can be as much as 8 centimetres (just over 3 inches) or more.

You may experience knee pain, difficulty walking, or a limp due to additional stress on the knee, which may increase your risk of developing arthritis.

What should you do if you experience knee pain due to knocked knees?

Generally, knocked knees in children are not cause for concern and should improve as the child gets older.

If you are concerned about the way your child stands or walks, or if the distance between his or her ankles when standing with knees together is greater than 8 centimetres


If you have developed knocked knees in adulthood and you are experiencing knee pain or having difficulty walking you should seek advice.

Treating knocked knees?

In children, treatment is usually unnecessary because the problem corrects itself as the child grows.

Your child is not required to avoid physical activity, wear leg braces or supportive shoes, or perform special exercises.

Mild knocked knees that persist into adulthood do not require treatment unless they are causing knee pain or other complications such as arthritis. 

Adults with painful knock knees or arthritis may benefit from seeing one of our Podiatrists for advice and treatment. Wearing leg braces or more usually special insoles, called orthotics, to reduce the strain on their knees. Exercise to strengthen the legs can also help.

If knocked knees are caused by an underlying health condition, such as Rickets, which can be treated with vitamin D and calcium supplements, treatment may be required.

Surgery for knocked knees is rarely necessary, although it may be recommended if the condition is severe or persistent.


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