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Malalignment of the Lower Extremity

There are many factors which 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 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 it?

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 it?

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 we fix it

OSI orthopedic experts are here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of malalignment of the lower extremity. While under our expert care, you may undergo the following:

  • Physical exam: Following a discussion of your medical history and symptoms, your OSI physician will conduct a thorough examination of the knee, performing a number of tests to measure overall alignment of the limb and knee balance.
  • Imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI 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 that is diagnosed:

  • Osteotomy
  • Arthroplasty

Following surgery, the use of a brace and crutches will help with rehabilitation.

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