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Rady Children's Specialists

Bowlegs and Knock-Knees

bowlegs1During normal development many children are bowlegged and then may become knock-kneed. These conditions are very common and most children with this condition will improve over time.


Your doctor may be concerned if the deformity is severe, occurs on only one side, or runs in the family.


Your doctor will decide if your child’s bowed legs or knock-knees are a normal variation. If it is determined that the condition is a variation of normal, the child should simply be watched to be sure they improve over time. Special shoe and brace treatments have not been shown to be effective. Such treatments are considered outdated.


bowlegs2Bowlegs and knock-knees are usually a normal part of development. Many children go through an early period of bowlegs then develop knock-knees, and then straighten out by age 6-10 years. There are no effective non-operative forms of treatment for mild bowlegs or knock-knees. Very severe cases can be corrected surgically, however this is usually not done until age 8-10 years. Most cases will self-correct with age.