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Malalignment of the Lower Extremity

There are many factors that contribute to knee issues. One risk factor is a genetic malalignment of the lower extremity. When the leg is not perfectly straight, weight-bearing is not balanced. This can lead to knee ligament, cartilage, and meniscus problems. Many people with malalignment of the lower extremity experience few issues; however, it is common for individuals who are bow-legged or knock-kneed to develop significant damage.

What causes Malalignment of the Lower Extremity?

Malalignment of the lower extremity results when the weight-bearing axis of the leg is not balanced, leading to overload on one side.

How do you know you have Malalignment of the Lower Extremity?

The most common symptom of malalignment of the lower extremity is pain, especially when left untreated and cartilage damage results, or if meniscus or ligaments tears are present. Symptoms associated with malalignment also include:

  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness

How does OSI fix Malalignment of the Lower Extremity?

OSI board-certified physicians are experts in lower extremity and knee issues. Your OSI orthopedic surgeon will discuss your concerns and examine you for signs and symptoms of lower extremity malalignment. You can expect your OSI doctor to do one or more of the following:

  • Physical exam: After discussing your medical history and symptoms, your OSI physician will conduct a thorough examination of the knee, performing several tests to measure the overall alignment of the limb and knee balance.
  • Imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs may be used to determine the extent of the condition.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Common nonsurgical treatments for malalignment of the lower extremity include:

  • Activity modification
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Bracing

Surgical Treatment

Different surgical options are available, depending on the type of malalignment diagnosed. Your OSI orthopedic surgeon will discuss either osteotomy, a procedure where your surgeon removes, or sometimes adds, a wedge of bone near your damaged joint, or arthroplasty, a procedure where incisions are made into the joint and the loose body is removed. Your OSI physician will discuss these options with you, and you’ll decide together which would be best for your situation. Following surgery, expect the use of a brace and crutches.