Bow Legs among toddlers is a very common problem. There is a distinct visible space between lower legs & knees when children with bow legs stand with their feet together. This can be resulting from either any one or both legs curving outward. Moreover, walking can quite often exaggerate the bowed appearance. Adolescents are also occasionally found to have bowed legs problems. However, in many such cases it was found that children were significantly overweight.
- Physiologic Genu Varum – Bowing of legs is normally a simple variation in appearance of leg for most children under 2 years of age. Doctors usually refer to this type of bowing problems as physiologic genu varum. Bowing caused in this condition usually begins to improve when children are approximately 18 months old & will continue improving as children grow. However, by 3 – 4 years of age, bowing of legs would have fully corrected & legs would typically appear normal.
- Blount’s Disease – Blount’s disease is basically a condition which occurs in toddlers & also among adolescents. This usually results from an abnormality of growth plates within the upper portion of tibia (shinbone). Growth plates are normally located at the end of long bones in children. They normally help determine shape & length of the adult bone. It may however be quite impossible to distinguish physiologic genu varum from infantile Blount’s disease, especially among children who are less than 2 years of age. However, by age 3 years bowing would generally worsen & obvious problems can be located with help of x-rays.
- Rickets – Rickets is a disease of the bones in children which cause bowed legs & other deformities of bone. This is usually found to happen in children when they do not get enough calcium, vitamin D or phosphorous, as all of them are quite important for healthy development of bones. Occurrence of nutritional rickets is quite unusual in developed countries simply because many foods including milk products are generally fortified with vitamin D. However, rickets are also caused by a genetic abnormality which does not permit vitamin D to be properly absorbed. It is also possible that this type of rickets can be inherited.
Bowed legs are the most evident when children stand or walk. One of the most common sign & symptom of bowed legs is the awkward walking pattern of the child patient. Toddlers having bow legs generally display normal coordination & do not also delay in learning to walk. However, amount of bowing can be significant & can often be alarming to parents & members of the family. Intoeing, or turning of feet is also common among toddlers & which frequently occurs in combination with bow legs. Typically, bowed legs do not cause any pain. But persistent bowing during adolescence will lead to discomfort in ankles, knees and/or hips due to the abnormal stress which curved legs can put upon these joints. Additionally, it is a cause of concern for parents that children may frequently trip, particularly when intoeing is also a problem.
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