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Massage, belts, or braces can correct knock knees? Know myths and facts

Knock knees should ideally be treated during adolescence, around 13 years of age, when the growth plates in the legs are still open.

Health Desk Edited By: Health Desk New Delhi Published on: June 01, 2023 16:48 IST
Knock knees
Image Source : FREEPIK Knock knees

Knock knees is a widespread condition that affects the alignment of the lower extremities, particularly the knees. Contrary to popular belief, knock knees primarily arise from natural variations in skeletal growth during childhood. Children frequently experience it as a common phase of growth, and it usually gets better with time. However occasionally knock knees can also continue into adulthood, which might be uncomfortable for the hips and knees. 

In India, knock knees are prevalent, yet the condition is often surrounded by misconceptions.  Often considered a mere cosmetic issue or a temporary growth phase, knock knees can have long-lasting implications for musculoskeletal health, causing discomfort and affecting posture. 

Below are some common misconceptions and facts about knock knees:

1. Myth: Knock knees can be treated at any age

Fact: Knock knees should ideally be treated during adolescence, around 13 years of age, when the growth plates in the legs are still open. Treating knock knees at an early age allows for better correction and reduces the risk of long-term complications.

2. Myth: Massage, belts, and braces can correct the condition

Fact: Massage, belts, and braces may provide temporary relief and support, however they do not correct the underlying alignment issue of knock knees. The most effective and recommended treatment for severe or persistent knock knees is surgery, which can realign the bones and restore proper leg alignment.

3. Myth: Milk can make the bones stronger and treat knock knees

Fact: While milk contributes to overall bone health, it is important to understand that knock knees are primarily caused by natural variations in skeletal growth. Milk, along with sufficient Vitamin D through sunlight in the body, helps in making bones stronger and healthier, which can potentially prevent the development of knock knees or other bone-related issues.

4. Myth: The surgery for knock knees can make the child permanently disabled

Fact: This is false because the surgery for knock knees is a well-established and safe procedure. When performed by skilled orthopaedic surgeons, the surgery aims to correct the leg alignment and improve functionality without causing permanent disability. Proper post-operative care and rehabilitation are essential to ensure a successful recovery and restoration of normal leg function. The surgery performed to treat knock knees is growth modulation surgery. Children can start walking the same day and can go to school after 10 days of surgery.

5. Myth: Knock knees will correct themselves as a child grows

Fact: Mild knock knees are frequently seen as a natural stage of a child's growth, particularly in the infant and early childhood years. As the child grows, the legs automatically straighten out, and it does not require any medical intervention. Knock knees that are severe or persistent can need medical treatment. It is advised to speak with a healthcare provider if the issue continues above a specific age or if it results in discomfort, trouble walking, or other consequences.

Debunking myths and understanding the facts surrounding knock-knees is crucial for accurate knowledge and informed decision-making. By dispelling these misconceptions, we can empower individuals, parents, and doctors to navigate the realm of knock knees with confidence, ensuring appropriate treatment and proactive measures for long-term musculoskeletal well-being.

(The author is Dr Ashwani Maichand, Director - Department of Orthopaedics, CK Birla Hospital, Delhi)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)


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