The medical term for bowed legs is genu varum. Genu means "knee" and varus or varum means "angles in." Physiologic bowing is a part of normal development. Pathologic bowing means it is due to a disease and it not a part of normal development. Physiologic bowing will correct itself in time, whereas pathologic bowing will get worse over the years if not treated.
Things You'll Need
- Orthopedic device
Addressing Bowed Legs and Fixing Them
Determine the cause of the bowing. Recognize that bowing can start from the upper shinbone near the knee, in the knee joint itself, from the lower portion of the femur near the knee or from a combination of these factors. Diseases that alter bone growth and result in pathologic bowing include Blount's disease and rickets, which is a skeletal disease that involves the metabolism of vitamin D.
Visit a metabolic specialist as well as an orthopedic doctor if you are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency that has caused rickets. If rickets do not respond to medication, surgery may be necessary.
Treat Blount's disease early. Treatment with a brace may fix the problem if it is detected early. Bracing early prevents additional damage to the inner growth that is the result of the angular mechanical compression caused by the bowed leg. Treat Blount's disease before age 3, or the child will probably require surgery of the tibia to straighten the lower extremity.
Consider being fitted for the Ilizarov Veklich external device. The device can vary depending on whether it is used for bowed legs, limb lengthening, trauma-healing or knock-knees. It does not have pins, which prevents the possibility of bone infection.
Tips & Warnings
- If a child isn't treated for Blount's disease until he is an adolescent, bracing is not effective. Older children require surgery. However, it is possible that bowing will recur after surgery.
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