Verified by Kimberly Langdon M.D.
Kimberly Langdon is an obstetrician/gynecologist with 19 years of clinical experience and graduated from The Ohio State University, College of Medicine.
If your baby has difficulty bending their knees, this can cause concern. There are several possible reasons why your baby can’t bend their knees and some simple solutions that can help them improve their range of motion.
Reasons why babies don’t bend their knees
Hypertonia occurs when the muscles in the body are too tight. Because of hypertonia, there can be a restriction in movement, making it difficult for your baby to bend their knees. This is especially common in babies who have not yet developed their leg muscles or are just beginning to learn how to walk.
2. Hip Dysplasia
This condition occurs when the hip sockets are improperly formed, making it difficult for the baby’s legs to bend appropriately. It is often a genetic disorder but can also be caused by improper positioning of the baby in the womb. Hip Dysplasia can also cause pain and discomfort in the affected area.
Contractures can be caused by various things, such as low muscle tone or the baby being cast for too long. This can make it difficult for your baby to bend their legs, as the muscles and ligaments become too tight.
Suggested solutions for babies that don’t bend their knees
1. Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises can be beneficial for babies suffering from hypertonia or contractures. You can help your baby move their legs in different motions so that the muscles and ligaments become more flexible, allowing them to bend their knees easier. You can also use gentle massage techniques to help loosen up the tight muscles.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy offers a practical approach to restoring the natural range of motion, allowing individuals to achieve renewed physical mobility and flexibility and strengthening muscles. A physical therapist can help your baby learn the proper way to move their legs and other parts of their body so they can bend their knees more easily.
3. Massage Therapy
Massaging the affected areas of your baby’s body can encourage more movement in the joints and muscles and help reduce tightness. Massage therapy can also be a great way to bond with your baby while assisting them in improving their range of motion.
Bracing can help your baby maintain the proper range of motion in their legs. This is especially useful if they are suffering from hip Dysplasia, as it can help to keep the hips in alignment and prevent further damage or difficulty bending their knees. If you choose to use braces for your baby, talk to a qualified health professional about the best type of brace for them.
If your little one has difficulty bending their knees, there’s no need to worry. Don’t hesitate to consult with a doctor or physical therapist immediately! They will be able to provide valuable insight on how best to help strengthen their range of motion. With adequate support from you and medical professionals, your infant can regain complete knee flexibility in no time!