Treating Knock Knees: Surgical and Non-Surgical Options

Treating Knock Knees: Surgical and Non-Surgical Options
  • September 24, 2023
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Hello, I’m Dr. Sameer Desai, a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Pune, India. Today, I want to shed light on a common orthopedic condition known as “knock knees” and discuss the various treatment options available for this condition. Knock knees, medically referred to as genu valgum, is a condition where the knees angle inwards, causing the feet to be spread apart when a person stands with their feet together. While it is not uncommon, it can cause discomfort and may require treatment, depending on its severity.

Understanding Knock Knees:

Knock knees can occur for various reasons, such as genetics, poor posture, or underlying medical conditions. In some cases, it’s a normal part of a child’s development and may resolve on its own as they grow. However, for those with more severe or persistent knock knees, treatment may be necessary to alleviate pain and improve quality of life.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options:

  1. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be an effective non-surgical treatment option for mild to moderate knock knees. Therapists can design exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint, improving stability and alignment.
  2. Orthotics: Custom-made orthotic insoles can help provide additional support to the feet and improve alignment. They are often recommended to individuals with knock knees to reduce stress on the knees and improve gait.
  3. Bracing: In some cases, bracing may be recommended, especially for children. These knee braces or orthopedic devices can help to guide the knees into a more normal alignment as the child grows.
  4. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for individuals with knock knees. Excess body weight can exacerbate the condition and put added stress on the knees. A combination of weight management and exercise can be beneficial.

Surgical Treatment Options:

If non-surgical methods fail to correct the issue or the condition is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. There are various surgical options, including:

  1. Osteotomy: This procedure involves cutting and repositioning the bones around the knee to improve alignment. It is often performed for more severe knock knees in adults.
  2. Hemiepiphysiodesis: Hemiepiphysiodesis is a surgical technique used in children with growing plates (physes) at the ends of their long bones. It involves partial growth plate arrest to correct angular deformities over time.
  3. Total Knee Replacement: In rare cases of severe arthritis associated with knock knees, a total knee replacement may be necessary to relieve pain and improve function.
  4. Arthroscopy: Arthroscopic procedures can be used to address certain structural issues within the knee joint, which may be contributing to the knock knee deformity.

Post-Surgery Recovery:

Recovery from surgery can vary depending on the specific procedure performed. Patients typically require physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain strength and mobility. Full recovery can take several months, but the goal is to achieve improved knee alignment and function.


Treating knock knees involves a range of options, from non-surgical interventions to surgical procedures, all of which should be carefully considered in consultation with an orthopedic specialist. The choice of treatment depends on the individual’s age, the severity of the condition, and their overall health. If you or your child is struggling with knock knees, it’s essential to consult with a qualified orthopedic surgeon to determine the best course of action. The goal is to alleviate pain, improve function, and enhance the quality of life for those affected by this condition.