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.


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