Knee deformities can cause pain, discomfort and make it difficult to walk. In addition it can make some people self-conscious about appearance. With multiple causes for knee deformities that cause malalignment, there are several treatment options that address condition improvement and the resulting pain. There are different types of knee deformities; one common knee deformity is genu valgum, or Valgus knee, also known as knock-knee.

What is Valgus Deformity?

Valgus knee is a lower leg deformity that exists when the bone at the knee joint is angled out and away from the body's midline. This causes the inability for a person to touch his or her ankles while the knees touch together. When the legs are not aligned properly, there is additional stress and pressure placed on the knee joint that can result in pain and discomfort as well as secondary issues as the person ages.

Causes of Valgus Deformity

While there are multiple reasons for Valgus deformity, the primary cause is genetics. When genetics are the reason for the deformity, both legs are affected with an angle. If you have Valgus deformity, chances are that someone in your family has the same condition. Valgus deformity is common in young children, and while about 75 percent of children ages three to five have knock knees, Boston Children's Hospital reports that about 99% of these conditions self-correct by age seven to eight.

  • Outside of genetics, there are other causes of Valgus deformity, including the following:
  • Tibial plateau fracture or an injury to the growth plate in childhood
  • Vitamin D deficiency, also known as rickets when the deficiency is extreme
  • Obesity, which can also make the condition more severe according to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics
  • Arthritis in the knee

Effects of Valgus Deformity

Those with Valgus deformity may experience joint stiffness, knee pain, a limp or unsteadiness in their gait. Over time, the additional pressure on ligaments and muscles can cause pain to develop in the ankles, feet, or hips, and you may be unsteady on your feet and at risk of falling. A discrepancy in leg length may also be present in those with Valgus deformity, further emphasizing a limp or unsteadiness when walking. If you have a malalignment of the knee and are experiencing pain, it is wise to consult with a physician to discuss treatment options. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance for improvement and decrease in pain. Furthermore, additional pressure on the knee puts you at risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life so it is advisable to discuss options with your physician as early as possible.

Treatment for Valgus Deformity

Initial treatment for Valgus deformity may include anti-inflammatories for pain management. If the condition is due to a cause not associated with genetics that have made you born with a bow to the bone, physical therapy may be an option for improvement. With physical therapy, you may learn to achieve proper alignment of the leg, and it is possible to improve gait, stabilize the knees, and strengthen the muscles in the legs, hips, and thighs. If the condition is due to a Vitamin D deficiency or obesity, a physician may prescribe a Vitamin D supplement or a weight loss plan to correct the primary condition causing the secondary condition of Valgus deformity.

A more drastic treatment option may involve knee replacement surgery, which is more common in adult patients over age 50. Surgery can correct the Valgus deformity as well as the osteoarthritis that has accumulated in the knee joint over time. In younger patients, an osteotomy surgical procedure may be an option. This involves cutting the femur, or thigh bone, to realign the knee and correct the positioning. Recovery from surgery can be lengthy, ranging from six to 12 months. Because of the invasiveness of surgery, as well as pain and recovery time, physicians will often seek other treatment options first when possible.

Another treatment option is SelectFlex Adjustable Orthotic Insoles, an adjustable arch insole support that lifts the arch of the foot as you step. Extensive research has been conducted by Quinnipiac University, and was completed in January 2020, showing the patented technology provides up to 89 percent more arch support. This is a particularly good option to allow for constant correction of malalignments that can cause pain in not only the legs, feet, ankles, and hips, but also the lower back. The design is like a spring, similar to the ligaments naturally existent in your foot. There are three adjustable levels as improvement occurs over time, and the cost is about one-quarter of custom orthotics. Furthermore, compared to gel and foam insoles that last only about two weeks, this solution lasts for months and comes with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee or your money is fully refunded.

Depending on the cause of your Valgus deformity and the severity, your physician can be your partner is choosing the best treatment option for you. Before venturing into surgical options, it may be wise to discuss orthotic options. Take control of your malalignment condition today! Find out more about this special arch support.