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What is genu valgum (knock knees)?

Genu valgum, more commonly known as knock knees, is a condition where knees tilt inward and “knock” into one another while the ankles remain apart. When the growth plate on the outside of the knee slows down or stops making new bone, the growth plate on the inside continues to grow normally, driving the knees toward each other.

There are many causes of genu valgum. It is commonly seen in young children and often resolves by the age of six years. However, underlying conditions, including rickets and the effects of trauma and infection, can cause severe knock knees that warrant surgical intervention.

What issues do children with genu valgum face?


Knock knees cause pain in the knee, hips, and ankle joints.


Lack of mobility makes it hard for children to participate in community life, play with friends, or even consistently attend school.


Children often experience discrimination because of the way their legs look, leading to poor self-confidence and isolation.

How does surgery change a child’s life?

  • Legs straighten and can grow normally.
  • Mobility improves so children can run, play, walk pain-free, and complete school, which leads to more opportunities.
  • Children experience hope as they are accepted into community life.


Miracles happen every day at CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia


Little Meriyem dreams of becoming a doctor. Her mom dreams for her to be able to walk and play like other ten year olds. At CURE Ethiopia, both dreams have come true! Meriyem received surgery to correct her knock knees, and today she is running toward a bright future.

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CURE Ethiopia provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE.

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