Knocked knees, medically known as genu valgum, is a common orthopedic condition that affects the alignment of the legs. It is characterized by the knees appearing to bend inward toward each other, causing the ankles to be farther apart when the feet are placed together. In this article, we will explore the definition, symptoms, and treatment options for knocked knees.
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Knocked knees, or genu valgum, is a condition in which the knees are positioned closer together than the ankles when the legs are extended. It can affect individuals of all ages, but it is particularly common among children as they develop and grow. Knocked knees can be either a normal variation during growth or a result of an underlying medical condition.
- Visible Knee Misalignment: The most obvious symptom of knocked knees is the visual misalignment of the knees, where they appear to angle inward when standing or walking.
- Knee Pain: Some individuals with knocked knees may experience knee pain, especially in the inner knee area, as the condition can put additional stress on the joint.
- Gait Abnormalities: Knocked knees can affect a person’s gait (the way they walk), causing an altered and less efficient walking pattern.
- Joint Instability: In more severe cases, knocked knees can lead to joint instability, increasing the risk of injuries or other orthopedic problems.
- Reduced Balance: The altered alignment of the legs can affect balance, leading to a greater risk of tripping or falling.
The treatment of knocked knees depends on the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and the age of the individual. Here are some common approaches to managing and treating knocked knees:
- Observation: In many children, knocked knees are a normal part of development and may improve on their own as the child grows. In such cases, regular observation by a healthcare professional is sufficient.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the knees and improve joint stability. This is often recommended for individuals with mild to moderate knocked knees.
- Orthotic Devices: In some cases, custom-made orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or braces, may be prescribed to help correct the alignment of the knees and provide support.
- Surgery (in severe cases): Severe or persistent knocked knees that do not respond to conservative treatments may require surgical intervention. The surgical procedure, called osteotomy, involves cutting and repositioning the bones to correct the alignment.
- Management of Underlying Conditions: If knocked knees are due to an underlying medical condition, such as rickets or skeletal dysplasia, the primary condition must be addressed and managed appropriately.
- Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential, as excess weight can exacerbate the condition and put additional stress on the knees.
- Regular Follow-Up: Regardless of the chosen treatment, regular follow-up with a healthcare provider is important to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
Knocked knees, or genu valgum, is a common condition characterized by the inward angulation of the knees. While it is often a normal part of development in children and may improve with time, it can cause discomfort and gait abnormalities in some individuals. Treatment options range from observation and physical therapy to surgical correction, depending on the severity of the condition. Early evaluation and consultation with a healthcare professional are crucial to determine the most appropriate treatment approach for knocked knees.
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