Bow legs, or genu varum, is a physical condition in which the legs have developed into the shape of an arch or an bow. Bowlegged adults can suffer from back pain and poor posture. But treatment is available. There are also fitness techniques that can strengthen the muscles and skeletal system to better balance the body's weight.
Bow legs can be caused by many health problems. The most common reason has to do with how the legs were folded in the mother's uterus. An infant's legs eventually straighten out after the age of three.
Developmental disorders can also cause bow legs. Rickets, a disease arising from a vitamin D deficiency, is often the culprit. In adults, bow legs can form after a fracture or because of a degenerative joint disease. In some adults, bow legs can greatly affect the alignment of the spine, causing discomfort or pain.
Back pain and discomfort due to bow legs can sometimes be remedied by investing in special in-soles that will help balance the body's weight and straighten a misaligned spine.
Exercise can strengthen back muscles and keep the spine in alignment. Structural yoga therapy, for example, corrects postural problems by strengthening the core abdominal muscles and by relaxing overly tight muscles in the back and legs. Chiropractors also offer therapy to improve posture in bow-legged patients.
In the case of rickets, the legs can be restored to their original shape as the disease is treated with vitamin D supplementation and exposure to the sunlight. For more severe cases of bowing, surgery may be considered. For spinal discomfort or misalignment due to bow legs, orthopedic braces may be prescribed.
Proper posture is important to reduce back pain as a result of bow legs. Those with bow legs ought to try to stand always straight, with chest up and head balanced over the shoulders. Avoid standing and sitting for long periods of time without stretching your limbs. Never round your back, and choose a work surface with a height that doesn’t involve straining the neck or back.
Sleeping in uncomfortable positions can greatly affect posture in a bowlegged person. Sleeping on your stomache is discouraged. When lying on your back, place a support under your neck. Your head should not be tipped too far forward.