Are you concerned about your child’s bowed legs or knocked knees? Often times you need not be…
Bowed legs and knocked knees are a normal part of bony growth and maturation in children.
Infants are born with bowed legs as a result of being tucked up inside their mother’s womb. Bowed legs may first be noticed by parents when their toddler starts to walk. The bowed leg appearance will usually disappear between 1-3 years of age. Children then go through a brief period of having straight legs before they then become knock kneed.
Knock knees are common between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, and reflect the normal process of bony growth of the leg bones. Over time, the leg bones straighten to reach their normal adult position by around 8-10 years of age (and it is normal for most adults to be slightly knock kneed).
In the large majority of cases, bowed legs and knocked knees require no treatment and will improve on their own over time. There is no need for special shoes, braces or exercises. Because the changes in knee position occur slowly over many months to years, it is a good idea to take a photo of your child’s legs when they are standing up from the front and back every 6 months to be able to monitor the changes over time.
Very rarely bowed legs or knocked knees occur as a result of another condition or problem. You should see your doctor or paediatric physio if:
- The curve of their legs appears to be extreme
- It affects only one side, or one side is much worse than the other
- The bowed legs get worse after 3 years of age, or the knocked knees get worse after 8 years of age
- Your child complains of pain or walks with a limp
- Your child is unusually short for their age