Knock Knee Correction

Many children have bow legs until the age of 3 and knock knees around 4-5 years of age. By the time they're 6-7 years of age, their legs begin to straighten and align. Knock knee is a curvature of the lower legs which leads to a large gap between the feet and ankles when the knees are touching. At times, the knock knee may continue or occur at a later stage in life.

Knock Knee Correction with Exercises

Knock knees happen because of weak abductor muscles found on the outside of hips and thighs. They can be corrected with certain exercises mentioned below.

1. Side Lunges

Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms in front of your chest, and take a big step sideways to your left. Bend your knee as your foot comes to the ground and push your hip backward. As you feel a strong contraction on your hip and other thigh, stand up and bring your feet back to the original position. Repeat 10-12 times then switch. Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest for more resistance. This helps your abductors, hamstrings and quadriceps.

3. Cable Abduction

This exercise for knock knee correction helps your outer thighs and hips with one side of a cable machine. Fasten an ankle cuff around your lower-right leg and keep the setting low. Stand with the stack of weight facing your left shoulder. In an arcing motion, lift your leg sideways to your right as high as possible then lower slowly. Repeat 10-12 times then switch.

4. Lying Abduction

Lie on your left side with your legs one over the other. Lift your right leg at an angle of 45 degrees, hold for a second, and then lower your leg. Repeat 10-12 times then switch. Hold a dumbbell against your thigh for extra resistance.

2. Side Step-ups

Stand with a weight bench towards your right. Keep arms in front of your chest, put your right foot on the bench, press down and lift your body in the air. After your right leg is straight, hold for a second then lower yourself. Repeat 10-12 times then switch. For extra resistance, use a medicine ball.

5. Wall Abductor Squeeze

Stand with the wall on your right and hold an exercise ball against it at stomach-height. Lift your right leg, bend your knee and make your thigh parallel to the floor. Press into the ball with your right leg and hold for a second. Release pressure slowly. Repeat 10-12 times then switch.

6. Straight Leg Lift

Lie on your back, torso relaxed. Keep one leg straight and the other knee bent with your foot flat on the ground. Tighten the thigh muscles of the straight leg, lift it about 12 inches off the floor and hold the position for 5 seconds and repeat. Perform this at least 4 times, 2 on each side, to work your quadriceps.

7. Wall Squats

Stand with a wall facing your back. With feet shoulder-width apart, stand slightly further away from the wall. Squat to 90 degrees maximum and hold it for 5-10 seconds. Contract your stomach muscles slightly as you squat. Increase your holding period as your strength increases.

9. Knee Press

You can sit on the floor or a bench. Put one leg straight in front of you and place a rolled up towel behind the knee. Contract the quadriceps of the straightened leg, push the back of your knee into the rolled towel and hold for 3 seconds. Release slowly. Repeat 9-10 times then switch.

8. Hamstring Curls

While holding the back of a chair, transfer your weight to one leg and bend the other backwards with only your toes on the floor. Tense your hamstrings and lift your heel towards your hips. Hold the position for 5 seconds before lowering. Repeat 8-9 times then switch. This exercise is very good for knock knee correction.

More on Treating Knock Knee 

Generally, most children with knock knee become fine without any treatment as they grow. But a little care and precaution taken when they are young helps a lot.

1. Vitamins

At times, knock knees may be caused by issues like scurvy or rickets, so the first job is to treat the underlying condition. Rickets is caused by lack of vitamin D. A daily dose of vitamin D should be taken. At times, a vitamin D injection is administered once a year. Also eat a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium.

2. Surgery

When nothing works, surgery can be performed for knock knee correction. But surgery is only recommended if:

  • The gap between the boy's or girl's ankles is more than 10 cm.
  • The child has difficulty in walking.
  • The lower legs of the child are curved, which can cause a lot of knee pain.

The surgery may be of 2 types:

  • Guided growth: With this method, a small plate is placed inside the knee. It gradually corrects the growth of the knee over a period of 6 months to 1 year. This surgery is generally preferred for rapidly growing children up to the ages 14-16.
  • Osteotomy: Osteotomy is a type of knock knee correction procedure where the leg bone is cut and realigned to correct the angle of the knee. The surgery is performed on one leg at a time under general anesthesia. Just above the knee joint, the lower portion of femur is cut and a small portion of bone is removed. Then the leg is realigned to create a straighter position. The bone is fixed in its new position by a plate and screws.

3. Smoking and Driving

If smokers need surgery to correct knock knee, it is necessary to stop smoking for at least 2 weeks before and 3 months after the surgery. Smoking restricts blood supply to the bone and delays healing. Also don't drive for 6-8 weeks after the surgery.