Bowlegs and Knock Knees in Children: Should you be Concerned?
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Akhil Bansal
MBBS, MS - Orthopedics

Bowlegs and Knock Knees in Children: Should you be Concerned?

It is common for children to have bowlegs when they are born. It may straighten out at 2 years, become knock knees at 4 and then become straight between 6 and 11.

Knock knees can vary in severity and timing depending on ethnicity and gender. Some children, for example, tend to straighten out their knees sooner after birth and may even get knock knees later. The knock knee angle is higher among girls than boys at all ages.

There are, however, some problems associated with knock knees. Most knock knees are considered normal, but further treatment is required if the angle is large or if it appears late or worsens with age.

Here is a guide to Bowlegs and Knock Knees in Children that you should be aware of.

What causes bowlegs and knock knees?

The exact cause of bowlegs and knock knees has yet to be fully understood. However, they are thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Genetics: Genetic factors may cause bowlegs and knock knees.
  • Premature birth: In cases where premature babies are born, they are more likely to have bowlegs.
  • Rickets: Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in the body, leading to bone degeneration and bowlegs. Knock knees can also be caused by rickets.
  • Other medical conditions: Some other medical conditions, such as Blount's disease and Perthes disease, can also cause bowlegs and knock knees.

When should I see a doctor about bowlegs or knock knees?

In most cases, bowlegs in children are normal variations of leg alignment that tend to correct themselves as a child grows. However, there are instances where it may be necessary to consult a doctor for further evaluation and potential bowlegs treatment.

Here are some situations when it is advisable to seek medical attention:

  • Severe or Persistent Symptoms:

    If your child's bowlegs or knock knees appear to be more severe than what is commonly observed or if they persist beyond the age when they are expected to improve (around 2-3 years old), it is recommended to consult a doctor. In the case of severe or persistent issues, medical treatment may be necessary.
  • Pain or Discomfort:

    Suppose your child experiences pain, discomfort, or difficulty with walking, running, or participating in activities due to their leg alignment. In that case, it is essential to have them checked by a healthcare professional. Persistent pain or functional limitations may indicate an underlying issue that needs attention.
  • Uneven Growth:

    If you notice that one leg is significantly more bowed or knocked than the other, or if there is a pronounced asymmetry in leg length, it is advisable to seek medical advice. A medical evaluation may be necessary to rule out any underlying conditions or growth abnormalities causing these problems.

How to reduce the risk of bowlegs and knock knees in children?

You can reduce your child's risk of developing these conditions by:

  • Getting enough vitamin D for your child: Vitamin D is essential for bone health. There are many ways to get vitamin D, including sunlight, fortified foods, and supplements.
  • Breast-feeding your baby: Vitamin D is present in breast milk, which is best for infants.
  • Avoiding smoking: Smoking during pregnancy can increase your child's risk of developing bowlegs or knock knees.

Final Words

In conclusion, bowlegs and knock knees are common conditions in children that typically resolve independently as part of the development process.

However, it is essential to be aware of potential concerns if medical intervention is unnecessary. You should always consult with your doctor about any problems you may have regarding your child's leg alignment, and they can provide you with appropriate guidance and advice related to your particular situation.

FirstCure is a leading provider of growth modulation surgery (for patients in pediatric age) and corrective osteotomy for bowlegs and knock knees. Our surgeons have vast experience in this surgery and are dedicated to providing the best possible care to our patients. Call us at 953 8180 300 and book your appointment with us!

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