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Understanding Differences between Bow Legs and Knock Knees |

Often young children have bow legs or knock knees. Each baby is born bowlegged. But the child’s legs start straitening gradually as he starts walking. Normally, the children do not appear bowlegged after attaining three years.  So the parent must contact a specialist if the child’s legs appear bowed-out beyond the age of 3. Likewise, knock knees are also a part of an infant’s growth and development. The condition gets self-corrected as the child grows. But the parent needs to consult a specialist if signs of the underlying bone disease persist in the child beyond the age of 7.

Major Differences between Bow Legs and Knock Knees


Bow-leggedness or Blount’s disease is more common in females. But the parents can notice the symptoms of the bone disease in their child only after he reaches adolescence. Normally, a child suffers from bow-leggedness due to prolonged deficiency of vitamin D, Paget’s metabolic disease, dwarfism, abnormal development of bones, and inadequate treatment of bone fractures. The parents can notice the symptoms of knock knees in their child only after the age of six. The bone disease is often caused due to varying conditions like prolonged deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, knee injuries or infection, excessive pressure on knees, or genetic conditions.


As mentioned earlier, each baby is born with bowed legs. But the infant’s legs do not remain bowed after beyond the age of two. The parents can easily recognize the symptoms of bow legs if the child’s knees stay wide apart when he stands with his feet and ankles together. However, the parents need to consult a paediatric only when the symptoms persist beyond the age of three. On the other hand, the parents can notice signs of knock knees when the child’s knees touch each other but ankles do not touch each other in standing position. Also, they must consult a paediatric immediately if the child experiences pain on the knees.


A skilled paediatric can diagnose both bow legs and knock knees immediately. He can identify bow-leggedness simply by examining the child and analyzing is development history. He can even recommend a blood test to find out Vitamin D deficiency. Likewise, he may even recommend X –rays to detect possibilities of Blount’s disease in the child. Likewise, the paediatric can diagnose knock knees by examining the child’s knees and performing various tests. In addition to taking measurements, he will inquire if the child experiences any pain or walking difficulties. Also, he may recommend blood test or X-rays to identify all underlying problems accurately.


If the bow-leggedness is caused due to vitamin deficiency, the paediatric will prescribe the required supplement. Otherwise, he will refer the case to a seasoned paediatric orthopedic for further evaluation. The paediatric orthopaedist may perform surgery to treat bow legs successfully by correcting a sever curve. However, the surgery is performed in rare cases. The skilled paediatric orthopaedists no longer treat bow-leggedness with braces or corrective shoes as these devices affect the physical growth of the child adversely. The skilled paediatric often does not treat knock knees as the bone disease gets cured as the child grows. But they often recommend the child to take adequate calcium and vitamin D supplements to eliminate symptoms of knock knees fully. They perform surgery only when the conditions of the bone disease are sever and persistent.

There are certain paediatric orthopaedic surgeons who treat both bow legs and knock knees. The skilled paediatric often explore ways to treat the bone diseases without performing surgery and making the children wear braces or corrective shoes. The parents must contact a skilled paediatric orthopaedic surgeon to avail prompt and relevant treatment for the two distinct underlying bone diseases.

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