What is knee malalignment?
The knee joint is an anatomically intricate joint involving the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), patella (kneecap), and surrounding soft-tissue structures. The complex arrangement of these structures enables the knee joint to sustain large amounts of internal and external stress every day. However, this weight-bearing responsibility of the knee joint is heavily reliant on a linear bone alignment for even weight distribution. If the femur or tibia cause a shift in the weight-bearing axis, a portion of the joint system will have to compensate often resulting in premature onset of osteoarthritis. Birth-related complications, the natural aging process, or a traumatic event can cause malalignment of the knee joint.
What is varus malignment?
A varus deformity occurs in a joint system where the bone furthest from the joint is angled towards the midline of the body and shifts the weight-bearing axis away from the center. In the knee joint, the inward angulation of the tibia causes the inner portion of the knee joint to bear more weight and frequently develops into a premature onset of osteoarthritis. Patients with varus malalignment tend to have a bowlegged appearance.
What is the treatment for knee malalignment?
Patients with minimal knee alignment without evidence of arthritic damage may respond well to non-operative treatment measures. These therapies may include avoiding high-impact activities that wear and tear on the knee joint and partaking in a strength training program to limit unnecessary pressure on the affected knee.
Yet, some patients may continue to experience persistent pain after a round of non-surgical treatments. These patients, in addition to those with an obvious bowlegged appearance, may require surgical intervention. The mechanical correction of knee alignment can be accomplished through a high tibial osteotomy surgical procedure. This procedure, also known as a proximal tibial osteotomy, aims to return the weight-bearing axis back to the center of the knee joint. Dr. Ronak Mukesh Patel, orthopedic knee doctor, treats patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area, who have experienced varus knee malalignment and are in need of a high tibial osteotomy.