Genu Valgum (Knock Knees)
Genu valgum, more commonly known as knock knees, is a condition where knees tilt inward and “knock” into one another while the ankles remain apart. When the growth plate on the outside of the knee slows down or stops making new bone, the growth plate on the inside continues to grow normally, driving the knees toward each other.
There are many causes of genu valgum. It is commonly seen in young children and often resolves by the age of six years. However, underlying conditions, including rickets and the effects of trauma and infection, can cause severe knock knees that warrant surgical intervention.
If Not Treated
If Not Treated
Older children with severe genu valgum can develop a severe disability, preventing the child from walking normally. Left untreated, pain and early arthritis can develop in early adulthood.
Children with disabilities often experience stigma and discrimination, leading to poor self-confidence and isolation.
There are two main approaches to treating genu valgum depending on the deformity’s severity.
In milder cases, surgeons place a small plate on the growth plate inside of the knee, allowing the knee to grow gradually straight over 6-12 months.
It is minor surgery, and children like Shakira can start walking the day after the procedure. It is just giving the child’s body a little help to heal itself.
In severe conditions where guided growth is less suitable, like Gali’s case, a more extensive surgery called an osteotomy is necessary to adjust the leg’s orientation. Doctors start by removing a triangular piece of bone to straighten the leg. The osteotomy is then secured with a wire or plate that provides the stability needed while the bone heals.