Menu

Top Exercises for Genu Valgum

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 08, 2020

Genu valgum, sometimes known as “knock knees,” is a misalignment of the legs and knees. The knee joint is shaped or pulled in a way that causes the legs to bow inwards. When someone with genu valgum stands with their knees together, their feet do not touch. Mild genu valgum is common and doesn’t generally cause problems, and genu valgum in children generally goes away without treatment. However, some people can find that it causes knee pain and difficulty walking. There are several exercises that can help correct genu valgum in people who find it uncomfortable.

Exercises to Help Genu Valgum

Genu valgum in adults is generally nothing to worry about. However, in some cases it is caused by a muscular imbalance. Your hip muscles, ankles, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles are critical for supporting your knees. If any of these muscles are weak or overly tight, you may experience uncomfortable knock knees. Strengthening and correcting these muscles can help support the knee joint and reverse some cases of genu valgum. 

Continued

Single-Leg Band Stretches

This exercise uses a resistance exercise band to help strengthen hip flexor muscles.

Step 1: With the resistance band firmly anchored to a stable object at ankle height, stand parallel to the band.

Step 2: Wrap the band around the ankle that’s further from the anchoring object. 

Step 3: Stretch the resistance band by swinging your leg out to the side. When your leg is as far extended as you can manage, hold the position for two seconds, then carefully release back to a neutral position.. 

Repeat this ten to fifteen times with each leg. 

Leaning Ankle Band Stretches

This exercise helps stretch the hip flexor muscles and strengthens the ankles.

Step 1: Anchor the resistance band to something sturdy at about thigh level and stand at the end of the band, perpendicular to the anchor.

Step 2: Wrap the band around the closer ankle, then step your other foot away so your feet are more than hip-width apart.

Step 3: Lean away from the resistance band, bending the knee that is not connected to the band. Keep both feet firmly planted. You should feel the band pulling at the inside of your ankle.

Continued

Step 4: Lean as far as you can, then hold the position for two seconds, and return to standing. 

Repeat this ten to fifteen times with each leg.

Exercise Band Squats

Squats help strengthen your quads and hamstrings, while adding the exercise band engages your hip flexors.

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip width apart and a circular exercise band placed around your thighs. The band should be snug but you shouldn’t have trouble standing with your feet apart. 

Step 2: Gently sink into a squat, bending your knees and keeping your thighs apart. You should feel a burn in your thighs and hips. Keep your back straight.  

Step 3: Hold the squat for several seconds, then return to standing.

You can repeat this fifteen times per set. Aim to complete three sets daily.

Kickbacks

This exercise helps coordinate the stepping activity and strengthens the muscles on the outside of your thighs. 

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and wrap a circular exercise band just below your knees. 

Continued

Step 2: Slowly lift one leg backwards and up like you’re preparing to kick a ball.

Step 3: Hold this position for several seconds, then release back to a standing position. 

Repeat this exercise ten to fifteen times per leg.

Lunges

This exercise improves the strength and coordination of your leg muscles and hips.

Step 1: From a standing position, step one leg forward several feet. Keep your hands on your hips.

Step 2: Bend both knees until they are both 90-degree angles and sink towards the floor. 

Step 3: Slowly return to a standing position.

Repeat this exercise with both legs ten to fifteen times. 

Safety Considerations

While many cases of genu valgum are due to muscle weakness, some cases are caused by underlying skeletal and structural differences. If this is your situation, you may notice that certain exercises cause knee pain. Exercise should not be painful; if you notice pain during or after exercise, stop immediately. 

If you cannot bring your ankles together when your knees are touching, then you may have a more fundamental problem. If your genu valgum bothers you, you can reach out to your physician for an evaluation and potential treatment options beyond exercise. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Center for Sports Medicine: “Biceps Tendinopathy and Strain.”

Kansas Orthopaedic Center: “Biceps Teondon Tendinitis (Proximal) and Tenosynovitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Genu valgum.”

Mayo Clinic: “Tendinitis.”

Primary Care Sports Medicine: “Genu valgum.”

UC Health: “Understanding Genu valgum (Proximal).”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.