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Kid Care: Bowlegs and Knock Knees

If your child’s legs aren’t completely straight, he or she may have bowlegs or knock knees. They may look familiar because, many times, the way a child’s legs are shaped are similar to the way his or her parents’ legs were shaped. Bowlegs and knock knees are common in young children, but usually go away as the child grows.

Image of a girl with knock knees and a girl with bowlegs

If your child’s legs aren’t straight

If your child’s legs curve outward, he or she has bowlegs. If your child’s knees come together and the lower legs point outward, he or she has knock knees. Often, a child will start out with bowlegs, the legs may straighten, then the child may become knock-kneed. The doctor will examine your child’s legs and may X-ray them to make sure there isn’t a structural problem.

Caring for your child

Bowlegs and knock knees almost always correct themselves as your child reaches adolescence. So, if you wait it out, you’ll probably notice that, over time, the curves become less and less noticeable.

Knees turned out (bowlegs) or in (knock knees)
Knees turned out (bowlegs) or in (knock knees)

If the curves in your child’s legs are getting progressively worse, which is rare, braces or surgery may be recommended. These help straighten your child’s legs and prevent future problems.

Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas,N., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2018
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