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A to Z: Genu Valgum

May also be called: Knock-Knees

Genu valgum (GEE-noo VAL-gum) is a condition in which the upper legs angle inward and the knees touch while the ankles are spread apart.

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More to Know

Genu valgum is a common condition in children and is almost always a normal part of a child's development. Because of the way their bodies are positioned in the uterus, most babies are born bowlegged and stay that way until about age 2 or 3. After that, their legs turn inward and take on a knock-kneed appearance until they're about 7 or 8 years old. At that time, the legs generally assume their normal alignment. In rare cases, genu valgum that develops later (at around age 6) can be a sign of an underlying bone disease.

Treatment for genu valgum is almost never required as the legs usually straighten out on their own. Severe knock-knees or knock-knees that are more pronounced on one side sometimes require treatment with braces that straighten the legs. Surgery to correct genu valgum is usually only done if the condition is severe and causes pain or difficulty walking.

Keep in Mind

In just about every case, genu valgum is a harmless condition that will eventually clear up on its own. When treatment is necessary, the results usually are very good and the condition is corrected with no long-term issues to worry about.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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