Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: December 31, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412961165 | Print ISBN: 9781412961158 | Online ISBN: 9781412961165| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Knock-Knees (Genu Valgum)
Kevin D. Walter
Genu valgum (knock-knees) is an angular deformity of the knees. Young children and youthful athletes are often evaluated for this condition, but most patients are found to be within normal limits. Most cases of knock-knees will resolve on their own. It is important to identify patients outside the normal limits who need further evaluation and to give families reassurance about those patients who are within normal limits. While developing, the fetus is usually positioned with hips and knees flexed in the uterus. The feet and tibia can be internally rotated (pointed in). This positioning causes a tightening of the medial ligaments of the knee, leading to genu varum (bowlegs) at birth. The bowlegged position at birth is normally the maximum for the patient. As the child begins to walk and grow, the tightened ligaments begin to stretch, allowing the knees to straighten out. Between 18 and 22 months, the angular ...