Infants are born with bowlegged postures, also known as “genu varum.” An infant’s knees will curve inwardly or outwardly. When a child begins to walk or stand, this posture will be eliminated. However, children can still have some bowing of the legs. As a child gains weight, their legs will straighten and form a “knee knock”.
A healthcare provider will examine a child’s legs to determine if they have bow legs. Your healthcare provider may order tests to determine the cause of the condition. Children younger than two years old may not need tests. They may just need to be monitored to see if the bowing improves as the child grows. The healthcare provider may order imaging and blood tests to check the bones in the knees and legs. These tests may also help determine the underlying cause of the bowing in the legs.
Once you have determined a child has a bowleg condition, you can choose between various treatments. Bracing is an option. However, if you are unable to tolerate bracing, you can opt for a surgical procedure. Surgery is an option for many patients, but it may be more invasive than you’d first think. Your child will likely need several weeks to recover after surgery, but they should be able to return to their normal activities.
Blount’s disease may also be a possibility. This disorder affects bones in the lower leg, causing them to bow outward. It is more common in children and teens than it is in adults. If left untreated, it can cause joint and knee problems. It is important to get the condition treated immediately. It can lead to severe deformities.
Other causes of bow legs include rickets. Children who lack sufficient calcium or vitamin D may have rickets. This disease affects bones and causes weak legs. Ask your pediatrician for more information. And don’t wait until the child has outgrown this condition! Once your child is walking, do not allow the legs to bow inward or outward.
Bow legs can cause serious problems later in life. However, in most cases they will resolve themselves by the time your child is two. If your child doesn’t outgrow the condition by the age of two, treatment may involve using special shoes or splints. Another procedure is a tibial osteotomy, which involves removing the shin bone below your knee and reshaping it to ensure proper alignment.
Bow legs can increase the stress on the knees and may even increase the stresses that a runner can put on their knees. They are the opposite of knock knees, where the knees bend inward. Both can cause pain but bow legs result in a gap between the outer and inner portions of the knee joint. The medial portion of the knee can also be compressed. This can cause injury to the Achilles tendon.