Knock-Knees: Anatomy of the Knees: Function & Issues

  • When the knees point more toward the big toes than middle toes, it may be referred to as knock-knees.
  • In most cases, a more precise term for knock knees would be a High Q Angle. (Amber Burke)
  • As noted below, a clinical diagnosis of genu valgum (appearing as knock knees) could require medical treatment.
  • Those with a knock-kneed posture may find alignment and pain relief by separating the feet and/or holding a block lightly between the thighs. (Baxter Bell)

Knock-Knees vs. an Increased Q Angle

An obvious migration of the knees toward each other, or genu valgum, is a clinical diagnosis, often arising from severe problems like rickets, and one that may require a treatment beyond the purview of yoga or even physical therapy. What physical therapists would call the mild knock-kneedness that is part of this pattern is more accurately identified as an increased quadriceps angle, or “Q angle,” which determines the pull on the patella (kneecap). The Q angle is measured from the ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine) to the midpoint of the patella. – Amber Burke, Yoga International, A Leg-Activating Sequence to Address Common Misalignments

Knock-Knees: Separate Feet

Many yoga students are told to bring the inner edges of their feet very close together at the same time they are told to align the kneecaps with their second toes. In those with knock-knees, this can exacerbate the alignment even more. So… separate the feet about hips-distance apart, sometimes with the aid of a block between the mid-thighs. I suggest they hold the block lightly between their thighs (as they may already have tight adductor muscles and we don’t want to encourage more tightness) and imagine that the block is pushing out against the inner thighs. [Has] the student’s knee pain disappeared? If it has, I’d recommend they adopt this new stance for future practice. – Baxter Bell, Yoga for Healthy Aging, Knock-Knees, Lady Gaga, and Yoga