Knee malalignment

Knee malalignment

In a perfectly aligned knee, weight is evenly distributed across the joint. In a malaligned knee, the knee is angled in an inward position like 'knock knee', or an outward position, such as bow leg. Knee malalignment results in an uneven ditribution of weight across the joint which can encourage wear to the joint surfaces. Malalignment can also cause patellar instability.

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic London are experts in treating conditions of the knee. They will explore your options with you to find the right solution, giving you the best possible outcome from knee malalignment treatment.

Knee malalignment: what is it exactly?

The knee joint is one of the most complex joints in the body, able to withstand stress during weight bearing and range of motion. It's comprised of three bones: the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone) and patella (kneecap) as well as ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

Within the knee there are two joints: the tibia-femur joint and the patella-femur joint:

  • Malalignment of the tibia-femur joint results in abnormal knee angulation creating uneven pressure on one side of the affected knee.
  • Malalignment of the patella-femur joint is also referred to as patellar instability. The kneecap often feels like it is slipping or dislocating in this type of malalignment.

Diagnosis: knee malalignment

Our experts at Schoen Clinic will discuss with you how the condition has affected your quality of life and to what extent it has impacted you. Your Consultant will visually examine the alignment of the knees and carry out a gait analysis while you walk.

As osteoarthritis is commonly linked to malalignment (it is often the cause of, or the result of malalignment), your Consultant will determine whether you are suffering from associated knee osteoarthritis through in-depth consultation and thorough examination.

X-ray imaging shows changes in the knee joint

X-ray and MRI imaging can assist in determining if there are any injuries to the bone or soft tissue within the knee. If your Consultant decides these are necessary, all imaging can be carried out on location at Schoen Clinic London.

Your Consultant will discuss your imaging with you to determine the best course of action for treating or improving your condition.


Symptoms of knee malalignment:

  • Excessive angulation of the knee (bow leg or knock knee deformaity)
  • Knee pain
  • Knee swelling

Symptoms of patellar instability:

  • Knee stiffness
  • Knee giving way or buckling unexpectedly
  • Pain under the kneecap
  • Clicking sounds when the knee is extended
  • Knee locking or catching

Strenuous activities like running, squatting, sitting for long periods of time, or going up and down stairs may case more pain to the joint.

Causes of knee malalignment: how does it develop?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to malalignment of the knee devloping over time, from general activities to wear and tear, injury or trauma but individuals can also be born with the conditon.

Whatever the cause of your knee malalignment, our Specialists will help you to get the best possible outcome from your care.