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Kid Care: Bowlegs and Knock Knees

If your child’s legs aren’t completely straight, they may have bowlegs or knock knees. They may look familiar because, many times, the way a child’s legs are shaped are similar to the way their parents’ legs were shaped. Bowlegs and knock knees are common in young children, but usually go away as the child grows.

If your child’s legs aren’t straight

If your child’s legs curve outward, they have bowlegs. If your child’s knees come together and the lower legs point outward, they have knock knees. Often, a child will start out with bowlegs, the legs may straighten, then the child may become knock-kneed. The doctor will examine your child’s legs and may X-ray them to make sure there isn’t a structural problem.

Knees turned out (bowlegs) or in (knock knees)
Knees turned out (bowlegs) or in (knock knees)

Caring for your child

Bowlegs and knock knees almost always correct themselves as your child reaches adolescence. So, if you wait it out, you’ll probably notice that, over time, the curves become less and less noticeable.

Surgery

If the curves in your child’s legs are getting progressively worse, which is rare, braces or surgery may be recommended. These help straighten your child’s legs and prevent future problems.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021
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