Genu valgum

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Genu valgum

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2] Luke Rusowicz-Orazem, B.S.


Genu valgum, commonly called "knock-knees", is a condition where the knees angle in and touch one another when the legs are straightened. Individuals with severe valgus deformities are typically unable to touch their feet together while simultaneously straightening the legs. The term originates from the Latin genu, "knee", and valgum, "bowlegged".[1]

Mild genu valgum is relatively common in children up to two years of age, and is often corrected naturally as children grow and develop. However, the condition may continue or worsen with age, particularly when it is the result of a disease, such as rickets or obesity. Idiopathic is the term used to describe genu valgum that is congenital or has no known cause.

Other systemic conditions may be associated, such as Schnyder Central Corneal Dystrophy, an autosomal dominant condition frequently reported with hyperlipidemia.


Life Threatening Causes

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular No underlying causes
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Hypophosphatemic rickets, Morquio's disease, Osteomalacia, Osteomyelitis
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic Acrocephalopolysyndactyly type 2, Alves castelo dos santos syndrome, Ampola syndrome , Aromatase deficiency , Chondroectodermal dysplasia, Chromosome 7, trisomy 7p , Chromosome 7p duplication syndrome , Cohen syndrome, Down syndrome, Duplication 7p , Ellis-van creveld syndrome, Epiphyseal dysplasia, Fibular hemimelia, Focal fibrocartilaginous dysplasia , Galactosamine-6-sulfatase deficiency, Hereditary multiple exostoses, Metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, Mucopolysaccharidosis type iv, Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia syndrome , Multiple hereditary exostoses, Osteogenesis imperfecta, Oto-facio-osseous-gonadal syndrome , Parastremmatic dwarfism, Pseudoachondroplasia, Wagner syndrome
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease No underlying causes
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic Blounts disease, Cozen fracture, Distal femoral physeal fracture, Focal fibrocartilaginous dysplasia , Galactosamine-6-sulfatase deficiency, Generalized lipodystrophy , Hereditary multiple exostoses, Iliotibial band tightness, Injury to growth plates , Limb deficiencies , Metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia syndrome , Multiple hereditary exostoses, Ollier's disease, Osteochondroma, Osteogenesis imperfecta, Osteomyelitis, Osteopetrosis, Oto-facio-osseous-gonadal syndrome , Parastremmatic dwarfism, Physiologic valgus, Proximal tibial physeal fracture, Renal osteodystrophy, Rheumatoid arthritis of the knee, Rickets, Sclerosteosis, Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda
Neurologic Mental retardation , Neurofibromatosis
Nutritional/Metabolic Obesity, Rickets, Vitamin c deficiency
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Ollier's disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteochondroma
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte Renal osteodystrophy
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Fibular hemimelia, Hemophilic arthritis, Hypophosphatemic rickets, Neurofibromatosis, Osteoarthritis, Rhematoid arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis of the knee, Rheumatoid disease, Wagner syndrome
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Cozen fracture, Distal femoral physeal fracture, Iliotibial band tightness, Injury to growth plates , Proximal tibial physeal fracture
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order


Generally, there is no known cure for knock knees post-childhood. Contrary to common belief, no amount of orthotic treatment or bodybuilding exercise will straighten knock knees for adults. If the condition persists or worsens into late childhood and adulthood, a corrective osteotomy may be recommended to straighten the legs. This however is more of a cosmetic remedy, and may hamper athletic performance in the future.

Adults with uncorrected genu valgum are typically prone to injury and chronic knee problems such as chondromalacia and osteoarthritis. In some cases, total knee replacement (TKR) surgery may be required later in life to relieve pain and complications resulting from severe genu valgum.

Diagnostic test

The Q angle which is formed by a line drawn from the anterosuperior iliac spine through the center of the patella and a line drawn from the center of the patella to the center of the tibial tubercle, should be measured next. In women, the Q angle should be less than 22 degrees with the knee in extension and less than 9 degrees with the knee in 90 degrees of flexion. In men, the Q angle should be less than 18 degrees with the knee in extension and less than 8 degrees with the knee in 90 degrees of flexion.


  1. "valgus. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000". Retrieved 2007-08-29.

See also

External links

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