Exercises for Knock Knees

If your legs spread outward from your knees to the point where your ankles are far apart from each other and your knees are touching then you are considered knock kneed. This condition (also known as genu valgum) is common in small children but should outgrow it by the time they reach adulthood. The exercises for knock knees listed below can help correct this deformity by making certain muscles and knee joints stronger.

Why Knock Knees Exercises Can Work

Weakened lower body posterior chain muscles are usually linked to knock knees. By strengthening the posterior chain muscles (especially the glutes such as the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) it will help the genu valgum straighten out.

Pretty much your gluteus maximus (glutes), calves, lower back, and hamstrings make up your posterior chain muscles.

These muscles in the posterior chain are responsible for stabilizing the hip as well as hip abduction. This is vital because if these muscles are weak the hip will fall out and the knee will knee turn inward, and the ankle won’t properly stabilize itself – which describes knock knees in a nutshell.

With all that being said utilizing exercises that focus on making the hip stronger is necessary for knocked kneed correction. Here’s a great picture below to give you a visual of these muscles in the posterior chain and hip abductors:

knock knees exercises


Exercises for Knock Knees

exercises for knock knees

Keep in mind that knock knees exercises are usually only helpful for those with mild genu valgum. If you are dealing with a severe case of knock knees then performing these exercises can help slightly, but won’t fully correct the bone deformity.

When doing these corrective exercises (especially for knock knees in adults) the key is to stay consistent in order for your knees to realign correctly and stabilize. Also, the cause of your knocked knee will play a huge role in how effective these exercises are at knock knee correction.

Side Lying Leg Raises

exercises to correct knock knees

  1. Begin this exercise by laying down on your left or right side.
  2. Make sure your legs are fully extended (one leg should be on top of the other) and your hand closest to the ground should be extended straight. Your opposite arm should be bent while your hand is placed on your hip.
  3. Now start one rep by elevating your leg that’s on top slowly as high as you possibly can manage.
  4. Now return your leg back down slowly and rest it on top of the other leg like you had it in the starting position.
  5. Do at least 10 reps of these to make one set.

These side lying leg raises are simple but for very effective for making the muscles like the gluteus medius stronger and helping to stabilize your hip, which is exactly what you want in order to fix knock knees.


  1. Begin this exercise to correct knock knees by laying down on your side with your legs on top of one another and bend your knees to a 45 degree angle.
  2. Keep your head on your the arm closest to the floor and place your arm that’s furthest from the floor (on the top) to keep your body steady.
  3. Now raise your upper knee as high as possible while keeping your ankles together. Your hips and pelvis should remain as steady as possible while doing this motion. Also, make sure your lower leg doesn’t get lifted off the ground.
  4. When your upper knee has reached as high as possible pause and keep it there for a second before returning it to the starting position.
  5. Perform 10 reps of this exercise to complete 1 set.

The clamshell is a great knock knee treatment because it strengthens your hip and really targets your glutes (gluteus maxium, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius) and other important muscles in your posterior. Definitely include this effective hip and leg strengthening exercise in your routine.

Lateral Walks with Band on Ankles

exercises for knock knees in adults

Begin this exercise by placing a mini band around your ankles and stand up straight.

  1. Keep your knees bent a little while performing this exercise and try not to lock them out.
  2. Keep your feet apart and begin stepping to the right and then follow with your left foot. Make sure you feel some resistance from the band around your ankles as you take each step.
  3. Repeat the steps towards the right and then repeat the steps towards the left.

The lateral band walk is another one of the great exercises for knock knees because it builds more strength and stability in the hip abductors, glutes, and knees. Another variation of this exercise is called the “Penguin Walk”, which is also effective for correcting knock knees naturally. Check out the video below:

Hip Extensions

exercises for knock knees in children

  1. Begin this knock knees exercise by placing an ankle weight around your ankles. Make sure you start with a light weight and complete one rep before choosing heavier weights.
  2. Now get on your hands on knees and then bend one of your knees with the ankle weight to a 90 degree angle.
  3. You’ll then slowly lift up the leg that’s bent to a 90 degree angle along a straight line all the way up towards the ceiling.
  4. Repeat this motion for 10 reps and then switch to your other leg making sure it has ankle weights on it too.

This is one of the most effective exercises for knock knees because it works your glutes and helps stabilize your hips. If you don’t feel comfortable (or if you just don’t have any) using ankle weights then don’t use them and perform this exercise without them.

Eventually as you build up strength in your posterior muscles and hips try wearing the weights to help you build even more strength. Check out the video below:

Another way to perform this exercise is to stand up and extend your hips.

  1. Begin by standing behind a chair or a table.
  2. Hold onto the table or chair so you can have some support.
  3. Tighten up your core and extend your legs outward toward your back.
  4. Do at least 10 reps and then repeat this motion with your other leg.

Take a look at the video below that demonstrates how to properly perform a standing hip extension exercise:

Hip extensions whether standing or laying down are a great way to strengthen a weak hip and glutes, which as we explained earlier is usually associated with knocked knees.

Russian Hamstrings

how to fix my knock knees

  1. To start this exercise get on your knees and align your shoulders, torso, and hips so that your body forms a line that’s straight.
  2. If you have a weight bench (a weight bench would be ideal) place both feet under it. If you don’t have a weight bench no problem just have someone get behind you and hold your ankles down.
  3. Now bring your hands up to shoulder level by bending your arms at your elbows. You’ll know you’re doing this right when your upper arms at the sides of your body and your elbows are pointing downward.
  4. Make sure your back is as straight as possible and then tighten up your hamstrings and glutes while slowly lowering your body toward the ground.
  5. Make sure you don’t bend at your hips and avoid dropping your body to the ground. Try to fight gravity and keep your body in as straight a line as you can manage.
  6. Finally, when you can’t lower your body any more release the tension in your glutes and hamstrings and drop down to the ground making sure you use your hands to break your fall.
  7. Repeat.

This is one of the best exercises for knock knees because it will help build strength in your hamstrings and glutes. Additional it will help stabilize your hips which will help straighten out your knees. Check out the video below:

A few of exercises for knock knees listed above can be performed with a resistance band or weights to help work and strengthen your glutes, hips, and other muscles in your posterior chain even more. However, make sure you master the basic technique first before you begin adding weights, resistant bands, and stability balls with these exercises. By strengthening these specific muscles by using simple exercises it’s possible to correct the problem without knock knee surgery.

Symptoms of Knock Knees

If you or your child has knock knees then you’re probably wondering how serious of a problem it is. Whether or not you need knock knee correction will depend on various factors like what symptoms you have. Symptoms of knock knees will vary from person to person.

A person is considered knocked kneed when their knees point inward and touch, but their ankles don’t. This is part of the normal growth and development of young children while they learn to start standing, walking, and running by themselves.

Knock knees on a child will become more obvious by the time the child turns 3 years old. However, as the child gets older this leg deformity will become less pronounced.

This angular deformity usually causes both knees of the child to turn inward and touch, but there are some instances where only one knee will knock and the other will stay straight.

The child’s knock knees should correct themselves by the time they turn 8 years old (5 to 9 degrees). There is a good chance there’s an underlying condition causing the problem if the knocking of the knees doesn’t self correct by this age.

Symptoms of Knock Knees

Symptoms of Knock Knees

Symptoms of knock knees are usually very noticeable, even in people with just slight/mild knock knees. Some of the most common symptoms of this leg deformity include:

  • Abnormal walking gait
  • Knees are constantly touching/rubbing against each other, but ankles don’t
  • The distance between the ankles when standing straight up is more than 3 inches (8cm)
  • Knee turns inward excessively
  • Unequal knee angles
  • Knock knees at an angle more than 15 degrees
  • Problems with walking
  • A limp
  • Pain in the knee
  • Arthritis symptoms
  • Knees that touch
  • Inwardly curved legs
  • Feet too far apart


If you experience any of these knock knee symptoms then consulting with a doctor should be your next step. A qualified doctor will be able to let you know for sure if you have knock knees or not. Not only determining if you’re knock kneed, but also letting you know how severe the problem is if you are.

The doctor will make this determination by examining your legs and asking questions about any walking problems or pain in the knee you have. Besides taking a look at your legs the doctor will most likely take some measurements in order to see if the distance between your ankles is greater than 8 cm while standing.

Sometimes the doctor may refer you to a bone and joint specialist to get an X-ray examination of your legs done to make sure the cause of your knock knees isn’t due to a fracture or bone disease. In some cases blood tests will be done also in order to check for underlying conditions causing the leg deformity.

Always remember that a slight degree of knock knee is okay and shouldn’t cause any problems. However, if an adult or child has severe knock knees then getting treated with braces, orthotics, exercises, or surgery may be mandatory in order to avoid more serious complications like arthritis.

Surgical procedures do have high success rates but shouldn’t be performed unless it is the only option to correct the problem, and it must be done at the right age. Getting knock knees corrected without surgery is possible depending on the severity of the genu valgum and the age of the person.

What Causes Knock Knees

If your knees touch while your ankles stay apart then you have a condition known as knock knees. Learning what causes knock knees will help you be able to better correct the problem.

This is an angular deformity of the knee that causes the knee to point inward. It’s part of a child’s normal development and growth to have knock knees. In fact, all children will have knock knees to some degree for a certain amount of time.

Newborns are knocked kneed due to the folded position they maintain while inside the womb of their mother. From 3 to the age of 4 knock knees in children usually isn’t that noticeable. However, when a child reaches 4 years old their knock knees tend to be more apparent.

Some children will find that they only have one knock knee (one leg is knock). Girls are much more likely to have knock knees compared to boys.

If a child’s knock knees doesn’t improve with age or if this leg deformity begins to develop later in a person’s life like when they reach adulthood then there could be a cause for concern.

Some adults will continue to have slight knock knees that usually doesn’t cause them any problems in their day to day life. However, if an adult has a severe knock knee problem then it needs to be corrected in order for them to live a normal and productive life. Some of the common methods for correcting knock knees include braces, excercises, orthotics, and surgery.

What Causes Knock Knees

A child will usually be knock kneed all the way up until they are 8 years old. However, if knock knee correction doesn’t happen on its own by the time the child is older than 8 then there could be an underlying cause such as:

Osteomyelitis: This is a bone infection that’s usually caused by certain bacteria, fungi, or germs.

Rickets: Rickets is often the cause of knock knees in children still developing. This is a condition that occurs when a child is lacking a sufficient amount of vitamin D in their body.

Vitamin D is essential because it helps absorb phosphorus and calcium, and without it bones will weaken and result in deformities like knock knees.

Mother’s breast feeding should be-careful giving their newborn only breast milk, as this can cause vitamin D deficiency. Breast milk from the mother will only provide so much vitamin D.

Genetics can play a role in who develops rickets or not. Treatment often involves replacing calcium, vitamin D, or phosphorus with supplements.

Rheumatic Conditions: Any condition that causes joint pain is considered to be rheumatic.

Osteochondroma: This condition causes deformity in a person’s bone development. This is caused by the development of a benign bone tumor that develops around the ends of the long bones.

Rheumatoid Disease: This condition causes inflammatory changes within the joints. The cause of this chronic disease is believed to be due to autoimmune mechanisms.

Renal Osteodystrophy: Renal Osteodystrophy is a bone disease that happens when your kidneys can’t maintain the right amount of phosphorus and calcium inside the blood.

People with kidney disease are most likely to develop this bone disease. Children with renal osteodystrophy will experience slow bone development, which leads to deformities like genu valgum.

If this condition isn’t treated it will cause your bones to become weak and thin. Treating this bone disease will often involve eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, calcium supplements, and drugs such as cinacalcet hydrochloride.

Injured Shinbone: An injury to the shin bone can cause knock knees to develop, as growth/development is part of the responsibility of the shin bone.

Obesity: Some people believe that obesity is a direct knock knee cause, but this isn’t true. Obesity merely adds to the knock knee problem (making it worse/more severe), but it doesn’t cause it. Obesity causes the knock knee problem to become worse due to the excessive amount of force being placed on the knees.

Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia: This is a condition that causes abnormality in the cartilage and bone development around the ends of the long bones within the arms and legs.

People with this rare genetic condition are often diagnosed with it during their childhood. However, on some rare occasions this condition might not be diagnosed until a person reaches their adult years.

Genetics: Your genes can play a role in the development of knocked knees later in childhood or cause your knock knees to not improve at the right age.

Arthritis: Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have been known to cause knock knees in adults.


Sometimes it will require a doctor to examine your legs to figure out what’s causing you to be knock kneed in your adolescent or adult years.

When it comes to what causes knock knees the above are some of the numerous things that could be the underlying problem.

If you’re an knock kneed adult/or a parent concerned about your child then learning what could be causing the problem is your first step. To get a full list of different knock knee causes click here.


Knock Knee Braces That Help Correct Algus Valgus Naturally

Many people with algus valgus want to know more about knock knee braces.  Knock knees are very typical among young children but if you reach your teenage years or even adulthood it can become a serious problem. Not only can this problem cause complications like arthritis in the knee but it can also cause you a great deal of embarrassment if you don’t take care of it.

The Cause

In order to really treat this lower leg deformity you have to know what’s causing the problem this late in your life. By the time you reach eight years old you are supposed to outgrow this problem and it’s supposed to correct itself on its own. If this doesn’t happen then there is usually an underlying problem that is causing it to persist past the age it’s supposed to correct itself.

There are various causes of knock knees but the most common causes are other medical conditions like scurvy or Blount’s disease. These underlying conditions cause knock knees as a result of them not being treated properly.

Once again the problem with knock knees isn’t just the potential problems it can cause in a person, but also the embarrassment of the physical appearance of it. What’s worse, the longer a knock kneed adult takes to treat their problem it will only get worse be harder to correct properly.

Most people that contact us here are hoping that there is another option besides expensive and drastic surgical procedures that may not even correct the problem. One of these alternative options for treating bow legs and knock knees without surgery involves wearing knee braces.

Knock Knee Braces

knock knee braces

Knock knee braces can help but usually they won’t fully correct knock knees if the person is already at a certain age where their bones stop developing and growing.

The first thing you should do if you’re interested in knee braces for knock knees is to get consultation from a certified orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor. If an orthopedic believes that braces will help your knock knee problem then they will suggest that you wear the braces at night while you’re sleeping to help realign you knees and lower leg properly.

The knee braces will help realign your knees into its proper position by pulling the knee upwards. The average knock knee brace will have to get attached to the shoes of the patient in order to help pull the knee upwards into its proper position.

Types of Knee Braces

The most popular kind of knee brace for knock knees are unloader braces. These knee braces unloads the stress that is being directed to the joint being affected.

The unloader knee brace will either be designed to unload the medial or lateral area of the knee. The medial being inner and the lateral being the exterior part of your knee.

It’s important to know that these type of knee braces can cost a lot of money, but some insurance companies will cover the cost so make sure you check with your health insurance company.

Most of the time these unloader braces will be used congruently with various exercises and other alternative methods to help make them more effective at knock knee correction.

Since there are various types of unloader braces out there you should always consult your doctor about which option will be the best for your specific condition.

How Does It Work

These knock knee braces will apply a degree of force in order to lessen the amount of pressure on the area of the knee that’s being affected, which will lead to less pain and gradually a more normal knee function.

There are some companies who produce these unloader knee braces that will allow you to give their braces a trial and if you don’t like it within a certain amount of time you won’t have to pay a dime. One of these companies offering a free trial on their knee braces can be found here.

What Knee Brace is Good for You?

The type of knee brace your doctor recommends that you wear will depend on the problem you’re dealing with. Unloader knee braces will be used to help with knock knee or bow legged deformities.

The main goal of these unloader or offloader braces is to decrease the uneven loading in the knee. Another type of braces often used to help correct knee problems are functional knee braces, which aim to help your knee stay stable after an injury.

Patellofemoral knee braces will help provide a smooth kneecap motion in patients suffering from knock knee deformity due to complications in the femur of the knee.

Check out this site for different braces that could help.

How to Use a Knee Brace Correctly

Always follow the directions provided by your health care provider in regards to your knee braces. Wear the brace at the times recommended (usually at night while you sleep), and make sure you clean it routinely with soap and water.

Always make sure you check your brace, especially if you’ve been wearing it for a while. You need to make sure there isn’t any severe wear and tear on the braces you’re using so they can be at their most effective potential.

The healthcare provider who recommended the braces for you to use will give you instructions on how to take care of your braces so that they remain in good condition and continue to provide you the best treatment for knock knees.

Potential Complications

There are definitely some adverse effects that come along with wearing knock knee braces. These braces aren’t for everyone so you have to keep an eye on how they make you feel when you first start wearing them.

From our experience some of the most common adverse effects of knee braces for knock knees and bow legs include:

  • Swelling or Pain in the Knee
  • Inflammation in the Knee
  • The knock knee or bow leg deformity seems to be getting worse instead of better


Knock knee braces are definitely a great investment for some people, but they don’t help every knock knee or bow legged patient.

Sometimes the leg deformity is so severe that knee braces won’t help much, but will help with providing a certain amount of relief from the pain and discomfort algus valgus and genu varum can cause.

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