"Bowlegs." It's the common name used in place of a medical term – genu varum – for a condition almost all babies are born with. But when a child doesn't outgrow his or her "bow legs," Shriners Children's can help.
During the first two years of life, a child's legs will normally straighten gradually. If they have not completely straightened by age 2 1/2, your child may have a metabolic problem, such as rickets, or may be developing infantile tibia vara (also known as Blount's disease).
If left untreated, this bowing can worsen, leading to problems walking and early arthritis.
Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information
Most cases of bowlegs correct as the child grows, without treatment. If your child’s bowlegs are caused by another condition, such as rickets or Blount’s disease, treatment is likely needed.
Factors for Treatment
Your doctor will consider several factors when considering a recommendation for treatment. Those factors include:
- The age of your child
- Your child's overall health
- Medical history, the current extent of the condition, as well as the cause
- The likelihood that the bowlegs will interfere with your child's ability to walk or run
Corrective braces or, more infrequently, surgery may be recommended if your child's legs continue to curve more after age 2.
- Braces can gradually guide legs into a straighter position.
- An osteotomy is a surgery on the upper part of the shinbone to correct the lower limb alignment. This procedure is used only for the most severe cases of bowlegs.