Coxa valga (KAHKS-uh VAL-guh) is a deformity of the femur, the upper thighbone
that sits in the socket of the hip.
hip deformity in which the angle between the shaft of the thighbone (femur) and
the top of the thighbone is too great.
the top of the femur, there is a knob of bone sticking off at an angle. This knob
is called the femoral head. It’s the part of the bone that sits in the socket
of your hip.
More to Know
The femur is the long bone in your thigh. At the top of the femur, there is a knob
of bone sticking off at an angle. This knob is called the femoral head. It’s
the part of the bone that sits in the socket of your hip. In most people, the femoral
head sticks out from the shaft of the femur at an angle of 120-130 degrees. If the
angle is greater than 130 degrees, the condition is called coxa valga, or a valgus
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, which means that the rounded end of one bone
(in this case, the "ball" of the thighbone) fits into the hollow of another bone (the
acetabulum, or cup-shaped "socket" of the pelvis). Ball-and-socket joints offer the
greatest range of movement of all types of joints, which explains why we can move
our legs forward, backward, and all around.
Kids can be born with coxa valga, or people can develop coxa valga due to an injury
to the hip, cerebral palsy, knock-knees, rickets, or a number of other medical conditions.
Coxa valga usually isn’t a problem in infants, whose hips have a naturally larger
angle, but in older kids and adults, coxa valga can cause pain, limit mobility in
the hip, and make one leg shorter than the other. In time, if it goes untreated, coxa
valga can make walking difficult.
Some cases of coxa valga cause no symptoms and don’t need treatment. Moderate
to severe cases are generally treated with physical therapy and the use of canes,
walkers, or crutches to make walking easier. If conservative treatment isn’t
enough to stop pain, surgery may be done to cut into the femur and decrease the angle
of the femoral head.
Keep in Mind
In many cases, coxa valga is a symptom of another medical condition. Treating coxa
valga should be part of treating the underlying cause. In cases where kids are born
with coxa valga, surgery may correct the condition, but can lead to complications
and is typically only done as a last resort.
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