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Bow legs and knock knees in children

1-minute read

Very young children often have knees and legs that look a bit awkward. Two types of bone-related conditions that can become obvious in young children are bow legs and knock knees. Both of these conditions are fairly common, and more often than not, disappear as a child grows and matures.

What are bow legs?

When a child has bow legs, their ankles touch, but their knees are wide apart - this is the opposite of knock knees. Many babies have bow legs at birth, and once they start crawling or walking, the condition may become more obvious. However, most children will go on to outgrow the condition by 3 years of age.

What are knock knees?

A child has knock knees if, when standing, their knees touch, but not their ankles. Parents often first notice their child has knock knees at around age 3.

Like bow legs, knock knees are usually outgrown by the child is 7 or 8. Most adults still have slight knock knees.

What should I do if my child has bow legs or knock knees?

In most cases, children outgrow these conditions without needing any special treatments. However, if the condition is severe, if one leg is worse than the other or your child is in pain or limping, they may need to see a GP or bone specialist to have their knees and feet examined.

If your child has one of these conditions, and you are worried that they may need help, see your doctor for advice.

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Last reviewed: June 2019


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Need more information?

Knock knees - myDr.com.au

Knock knees (genu valgum) is common in young children. The legs usually straighten as the child grows.

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Bow legs in babies and children | Raising Children Network

Young babies often have bowed legs. Bow-leggedness is more common in babies of above-average weight. You don’t usually need to worry if your child has bow legs.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Bowlegs and knock-knees | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What are bowlegs and what is the cause? Bowing of the legs (called genu varum) is when the legs curve out like a bow

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