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Knock knees - Orthopaedics SA

Bow Leg and Knock Knees

Both bow legs and knock knees are common in children as they grow and almost always correct by themselves.

When standing with their feet and ankles together, a child with bow legs will have knees that stay apart. With knock knees, when the knees are together, the ankles stay apart.

The following symptoms should be checked by a GP or Paediatrician:

Knock knees or bow legs are severe

  • A limp or pain
  • Bow legs remaining after the age of three years
  • Knock knees worsening after the age of eight years
  • Only one leg is affected

Symmetric bow legs and knock knees usually just a normal part of development as a child grows.

Your child’s Doctor will examine the child. You may be referred to a specialist if

  • Your child has a limp or pain
  • Only one leg is affected
  • The knocked knees/bows are severe or getting worse
  •  If bow legs worsen after 3 years of age
  • If knock knees persist after 8 years of age

No treatment is required unless the case is severe.  Surgery is rarely required – sometimes Guided growth surgery is needed which entails inserting small plates and screws to provide gradual correction while the child grows.

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