Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Is My Son Growing Correctly?

Wednesday, 09 Jun 2010 04:42 PM

Question: My son is 14 ½ years old, is 5 foot-10 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds. He is at that age of puberty changes, and has become extremely knock-kneed over the last two years, to the point that he cannot physically touch his ankles together (by about 3 inches) when he is standing straight-up and his knees are touching. It has significantly affected his ability to run and make lateral movements or direction changes. Will this correct itself or should I be seeking definitive medical care? Will losing weight help?
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Do not look for this to self correct. Your son is within the period of growth where his growth plates are very active and in the process of fusion. Adjacent joints, especially his hips and knees need to be evaluated promptly. Changes now will have a very significant effect on his skeletal health.
Have him examined by a pediatric orthopedic specialist (medical doctor) for advice on his growth pattern and its correction. Younger children ages 4-8 often have rotational deformities that are usually remedied by conservative treatment and, occasionally, need external devices to assist with correction. Older children, especially ages 12-15 have their own injuries related to growth plate changes, some of which require surgical correction as soon as possible.
The most significant one relates to growth plate slippage in the hip (referred to a slipped capital femoral epiphysis) that will cause permanent disability when left untreated. This often disguises itself as a knee condition and is associated with obesity in 80 percent of cases. Definitive medical care is available. Do not expect correction with weight loss alone. He will need additional treatment.

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