Also known as: genu varum, tibia vara
What are bowlegs?
Bowlegs are a curvature of the legs such that when the feet are placed together, the knees are not touching (the opposite of knock knees).
What causes bowlegs?
Bowlegs are very common in young children, and in many cases are considered normal up to the age of 2 years. This is called physiologic bowlegs. When bowlegs are still present beyond the age of two years, there may be a reason.
A wide variety of conditions can lead to bowlegs including:
What are the symptoms of bowlegs?
The physical appearance of the bowed legs is the primary symptom. This can cause gait abnormalities, tripping, and falling. Young children rarely have pain from this, but as the child grows into adulthood, pain especially on the inside part of the knee can develop.
What are bowleg care options?
Most cases of bowlegs in infants resolve on their own without treatment. Treatment can range from observation, to special braces, to outpatient or inpatient surgery, depending on the cause, severity, and age of the child.
Reviewed by: Scott J Schoenleber, MD
This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:02 PM
Learn more about
Skeletal dysplasias are disorders of the bone and cartilage that may affect the skeleton of a growing fetus. Skeletal dysplasias occur in approximately 1 in every 4,000 births.
Knock knees, or knocked knees, is a condition where a child’s legs bend inward at the knee. Knock knee symptoms may include an unusual walking pattern, difficulty walking, and rare instances of pain.
For children who develop certain problems with their limbs, such as bowlegs, knock-knees and others, treatment can often be difficult and invasive. Guided growth surgery is a less invasive procedure that uses plates and screws to correct the problems gradually over time with hardware that guides the growth of the limbs, but is still flexible to allow things to move and change gradually with time.