Diagnostic test for knock knees and bow legs

Physiologic valgus

Our leading paediatric consultants can diagnose and treat knock knees and bow legs

About physiologic valgus

Knock knees (physiologic valgus) is when a child's knee joints point inwards and touch each other. Bow legs (Blount's disease) is just the opposite — when the legs curve outwards, instead of standing straight.

While most children grow out these conditions, symptoms could also be a sign of rickets or osteoperosis. When testing for bow legs and knock knees, your consultant will examine your child's legs and carry out a physical examination.

Need to know

  • How do you test for bowlegs or knock knees? icon plus

    The most effective way to test for bow legs is a visible assessment. When a child stands with straight legs and toes pointed forward, the consultant will see if your knees are too far apart. Your consultant will also ask your child to walk up and down to see how rotated the knees are. If just one of the legs is bowed, they may order an X-ray of the lower legs to rule out bone deformities.

    With knock knees, a visible assessment is also carried out. Your consultant will assess whether your child's feet and ankles are further apart than usual. They'll also compare the angle of the lower leg and the upper leg.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    No preparation is needed. Your consultant will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • After the assessment icon plus

    If your child has knock knees or bow legs, they are likely to grow out of it. If your consultant thinks there may be an underlying health condition such as rickets, they may order more tests.

    If the problems persist, your consultant may recommend surgery. This could involve inserting guided growth implants, which help straighten and realign your child's leg as they grow. In severe cases, your child may need an osteotomy. Here, a wedge of bone is removed and the leg is realigned with metal implants. Both these procedures can be used to align knock knees too.

Our knee consultants

We're proud to work with leading knee experts, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion. They are experienced in paediatric care and have a team of paediatric nurses and physiotherapists to support each child during investigations and treatment.

Our locations

From complex orthopaedic surgery to tests and procedures for adult and childhood conditions, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an orthopaedic appointment for your child

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced paediatric consultants who specialise in orthopaedics. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
back to top