Leg alignment problems

Only the correct positioning of the joints relative to each other allows us to achieve maximum mobility and, in an ideal scenario, be able to walk well for the rest of our lives. Many people, however, develop changes to their leg alignment, such as 'bow legs' or 'knock knees', which can be caused by skeletal problems, rickets, metabolic and hormone disturbances or obesity, but also as a result of injuries or ligament weakness.

The misalignments of the joints that ensue can affect the hip, knee or ankle joints. They lead to an uneven distribution of weight over the joint surfaces and can cause a wide range of chronic joint pain and problems, right through to cartilage damage and premature wear and tear (arthrosis).

Detailed investigations can help achieve a precise diagnosis and thereby facilitate early correction.

Diagram of leg misalignment

Symptoms

Leg alignment problems tend to be regarded as a purely cosmetic problem. Often, however, vague muscle pain or bone pain is also felt. As a result of the onset of wear and tear, pain later develops in the misaligned joint. If arthrosis is already present, the characteristic symptoms of this condition are experienced.

Treatment

If the deviation is only slight, orthopaedic shoe inserts and / or shoe sole corrections can help relieve the strain on the joints. Once the growth phase has stopped, more severe deformities can be treated by surgical means (osteotomy) which, even if arthrosis has already started to occur, can still achieve good joint function in the long term.

If the arthrosis is advanced, stiffening (arthrodesis) of the joint, for example at the big toe joint, or replacement of the hip or knee joint can ensure the pain-free function of the joint. New surgical techniques now allow full weight-bearing immediately after the operation.