Stories

Conditions we treat: Knock knees





Genu Valgum, otherwise known as knock knees, is a condition common in children which causes the legs to angle inwards to the point where their knees knock against each other. The continual knee-knocking is painful in itself, but the knee’s odd angle also puts strain on the joints. It is a miserable experience that prevents many children from pain-free mobility. 


One child, Abebe from Ethiopia, had a severe case of knock knees that prevented him from walking long distances. In turn, he wasn’t able to go to school. It’s heartbreakingly common to hear stories about children who never had a fair chance because of the pain of their knock knees. That’s why CURE Ethiopia was a blessing.

Interestingly enough, knock knees are actually a natural part of a child’s development. All children go through a progression of bowed legs to knock knees. But between the ages of six and eleven, their legs typically straighten out permanently. However, long-term problems arise when the angles are extreme or the knocking affects just one leg. These problems can stem from various conditions like spina bifida, bone diseases, lack of proper nutrients, or improper growth. Regardless of the reason, knock knees are still very treatable. 

You can treat the condition in one of two ways:

1. Guided Growth: Since there are two bones in the leg between our knee and our ankle, doctors install a small plate on the knee, which slows down the growth of one of the bones while allowing the other bone to grow normally. Since one bone is growing faster than the other, the different growth speeds slowly change the angle of the child’s leg. This procedure is incredible! It’s a minor surgery, and the child can start walking the day after the procedure. It’s just giving the child’s body a little help to heal itself.
2. Osteotomy: In situations where guided growth isn’t an option, doctors will perform a more extensive surgery, called an osteotomy, to straighten out the child’s legs. They remove a triangular portion of one of the leg bones for this procedure. With this triangle of bone gone, the doctors have enough space to manually straighten out the bone and, as a result, the entire leg!

Whether the child undergoes a guided growth procedure or an osteotomy, your support of CURE is changing the lives of children who have suffered from knock knees for too long. Children like Meriyem, whose mother dreamed that Meriyem would be able to run and play with her friends – something she would never have been able to do if it wasn’t for your support!

One of the beautiful things about CURE is that it allows everyone to participate in the transforming surgeries at CURE hospitals worldwide. You don’t need to understand words like bilateral, ventricle, genu valgum, congenital, or cerebral-spinal fluid to take part in the life-changing and life-saving work that is done. But with this said, having an understanding of the conditions CURE treats allows a deeper appreciation of just how important your donation is!


To support a child’s surgery, click here.