Bowlegs

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:
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Skeletal dysplasias
  • Infections
  • Fractures
  • Asymmetric growth
  • Congenital deformities


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: 3/23/2018 2:15:35 PM

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