genu valgum treatment

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what is genu valgum?

Commonly known as ‘Knock-knees’, this is the condition or misalignment that causes the knees to bend inwards. Genu valgum is common in children between the age group of 3-5 years mainly as a passing trait i.e. it corrects itself when they grow up and reach the age of around 7-8 years. 

Sometimes Genu varum and Genu valgum are used interchangeably. However, it is important to understand the difference between these two entirely opposite conditions. While Genu valgum is the inwards bending of the knees, Genu varum is the condition when the knees bow outwards widely. It is also referred to as bow-leggedness or bandy-leg. 

Content is medically reviewed by:

Shruti Bangera, Masters In Neurological Physiotherapy, Senior Physiotherapist & SME, Portea

what are the symptoms of genu valgum?

The symptoms for every person differ depending on the severity with which Genu valgum has affected and her/his age. The symptoms may be completely different for children and adults. Some of the most common signs through which you can identify this condition include:

  • A gap of around 3 inches or more between the ankles due to the joining of the knees.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Constant pain in the knee or hip area.
  • Pain in the foot or ankles.
  • A limp while walking.
  • Reduced range of motion in the legs or the hip area.
  • Difficulty in running or walking.
  • Progressive arthritis of the knee (in adults).
  • Wobbling or instability in the knees.

what are the causes of genu valgum?

There are several factors, besides developmental issues, that cause this condition. These underlying reasons depend on the age of the patient and general health. Some of the most common childhood Genu valgum causes include: 

  • Deficiency of Vitamin D and C. 
  • Excessive weight or long-term obesity that puts additional weight on the knees.
  • Congenital factors that impact the way the knees develop.
  • Serious injuries to the knee area.
  • Infections in the bones in the knee area.
  • Stiffness or soreness in the joints.
  • Injuries of the growth plate.
  • Skeletal dysplasia.
  • Metabolic bone disorders.
  • Other diseases of the bones.

There are certain causes that trigger Genu valgum deformity in adults. The causes of this late onset include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis particularly in the knee.
  • Age-related wear and tear (Osteoarthritis)
  • Obesity.
  • Genetic conditions.
  • Serious injuries to the knee and shinbone areas. 
  • Metabolic diseases.
  • Renal failure.

how is genu valgum diagnosed and treated?

The diagnosis process of Genu valgum is generally not done in children since the condition is common and mostly corrects itself. In older children and adults, the doctor will try to diagnose the underlying causes of the condition to determine the treatment plan.

There are several ways in which the diagnosis is done. These include:

  • The doctor will study the medical history of the patient and ask questions if this condition runs hereditarily in the family. The doctor will also try to understand if there are any contributing pre-existing conditions.
  • The doctor will conduct a physical examination to check the knee alignment in a standing position, the gait, and the leg length. This also includes checking if a person has flat feet and the patterns of one’s soles on the shoes.
  • If the above-mentioned methods are not able to offer conclusive results, the doctor may order an MRI or X-Ray to examine the structure of the bones and if there are any deformities or degenerations. 

how is genu valgum treated?

When diagnosed in adulthood and left untreated, Genu valgum may actively progress and overload the knees. This overloading and excessive force leads to constant feelings of pain, instability in the knees, problems with walking, deformities in the bone, arthritis, and degeneration of the knee joints. 


The treatment plan for every patient is different and depends on what is causing Genu valgum and the severity of your symptoms. Some of the common lines of treatment include:

  • Medicines and supplements: Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to help relieve your pain and discomfort. If rickets is the underlying cause of Genu valgum, you may be prescribed calcium and Vitamin D supplements. 
  • Orthotics: Your doctor may advice you to insert a heel inside your shoe to equalize the leg length. This also helps in relieving pain in the legs and in stabilizing your walk. Splints are commonly used for children whose Genu valgum doesn’t resolve itself by the age of 8.
  • Surgery: When the above-mentioned methods don’t work, you may be recommended surgery. For younger patients, a guided growth surgery if done that includes insertion of a plate in their knee and its removal when the bone growth is corrected. For adult patients, osteotomy or knee replacement surgery may be recommended. 

how can physiotherapy help? 

Physiotherapy plays a critical role in helping the knees realign and stabilize. After an evaluation of your condition, your therapist can suggest exercises designed to relieve you of painful symptoms. Some of the most important benefits of genu valgum physiotherapy treatment include:

  • Physiotherapy helps in strengthening the muscles in the thighs, legs, and hips. 
  • They help in reducing the pressure on the legs and the knees and in relieving one of stress and pain in the area. 
  • They help in improving the gait by de-loading the joints of excessive pressure.
  • Exercises help in lessening the fatigue that comes with the symptoms,
  • These exercises are also known to help in the re-orientation of the joints in protecting them from deteriorating.  

which exercises can help in genu valgum?

There are several genu varum physiotherapy exercises and therapies that are known to help in this condition. These include:

  • Joint effusion high voltage pulsed galvanic stimulation.
  • Interferential therapy and Strong faradic electrical stimulation for pain relief. 
  • Capsular stretching exercises to stretch the tight capsules. 
  • Soft tissue massages.
  • Stretching of the hamstrings and hip adductors to relieve pain. 
  • Quadriceps exercises to relieve pain.
  • Core strengthening exercises. 
  • Sports taping.
  • Contrast bathing in warm and cold water.

how can we help?

Portea, a leading home healthcare provider in India, has been dedicated to facilitating faster healing through convenient access to care within the comfort of your home. Particularly renowned for our physiotherapy services, Portea has earned the trust of numerous individuals seeking effective rehabilitation. Here are some advantages we offer:

Engaging Portea for physiotherapy ensures a consistent level of care that surpasses the benefits of self-designed exercise programs. With our therapists visiting your home, adherence to the prescribed routine is enhanced, leading to faster recovery.

  • Our physiotherapists are carefully selected based on their experience and professionalism, undergoing rigorous screening processes to ensure the highest quality of care.
  • Tailored exercise plans are crafted to meet your specific needs, providing personalized rehabilitation strategies.
  • Healing takes place in the convenience of your home, eliminating the need for travel. This not only reduces stress but also allows for better time management and cost savings associated with transportation.
  • Portea’s physiotherapy plans are economically advantageous, with costs estimated to be at least 25-30% lower than those incurred at hospitals or clinics.
  • Our therapists extend beyond the realm of exercises for specific conditions, offering guidance on lifestyle changes that contribute to overall well-being. This includes advice on maintaining proper posture, lifting techniques, and quick pain relief options.
  • Staying abreast of the latest physiotherapy techniques, our therapists undergo continuous training to ensure patients regain their mobility and independence swiftly.

With Portea, you’re not just getting genu valgum physiotherapy service ; you’re gaining a partner in your journey to recovery and well-being. We also offer a range of superior healthcare services, including doctor consultations, medical equipment, nursing home care, and dedicated caretakers. Rely on us for top-tier healthcare solutions tailored to your requirements.


Is it possible to correct knock knees without resorting to surgery? 

Genu valgum, commonly known as knock-knees, encompasses its treatment, causes, and recommended exercises. In the majority of instances, genu valgum naturally corrects itself before a child reaches adolescence. However, for older children and adults grappling with this condition, the primary mode of therapy typically involves engaging in stretches and exercises aimed at realigning the knees and alleviating associated pain. Additionally, some individuals may discover relief through the use of orthotics or braces as part of the therapeutic approach.

How long does it take to recover from knock knee surgery? 

Osteotomy patients may require 3 to 6 months to achieve normal walking patterns and regain their complete range of motion. Engaging in high-impact activities, such as jogging, may necessitate 12 months or more before patients can resume such endeavors.

At what age does genu valgum reach its peak? 

Physiologic genu valgum is most pronounced at 3-4 years old and typically resolves on its own by the age of 7.

Is yoga beneficial for addressing knock knees? 

By practicing sumo squats with attentiveness, you’ll notice a lateral movement of the knees. This specific motion aids in repositioning the kneecap and associated muscles to their proper alignment. That’s why sumo squats are regarded as one of the most effective exercises for correcting knock knees.

What foods support the treatment of genu valgum?

Incorporating additional servings of vitamin C and other nutrients present in citrus fruits may enhance joint health. Antioxidant-packed foods like blueberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes can aid in minimizing inflammation associated with genu valgum and other joint-related conditions.

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