Bowlegs – Genu Varum

Genu Varum is a Latin expression that is commonly used to refer to Bowlegs. This condition is caused due to different factors and may be present from infancy through adulthood. As the condition worsens, the patient suffering from Bowlegs usually ends up exhibiting lateral knee thrust and a waddling gait. Interestingly, in-toeing and secondary effects on the hip and ankle are also associated with Bowlegs. It also worth stating that Bowlegs is either a unilateral problem associated with a functional limb-length discrepancy, or yet a bilateral condition. One’s family and medical history can reveal clues with respect to the likelihood of persistence or progression of this condition.

What are Bow Legs?

When your knees stay apart even when the other parts of your legs, like the ankles, are together, you are said to be bowlegged. This condition may indicate the presence of other conditions like rickets and Blount’s disease. In the long-term, this condition may lead to arthritis of the knees or hips. Physicians use braces, casts, or surgeries to correct the bone abnormalities.

The cramped position of infants in their mothers’ wombs makes the condition more prevalent among them. The condition does not necessarily need treatment to infants since the legs start to gain the normal structure as they start to walk. However, you should seek medical intervention if the condition still exists at the age of two years.

Bow-leggedness is also called congenital genu varum.

Bowlegs can also be a result of:

  • Blount’s Disease
  • Rickets – a prolonged deficiency of the D vitamin may lead to softening and weakening of the bones.
  • Paget’s Disease
  • Dwarfism
  • Fractures on the bones that have not healed well.
  • Abnormally- bone dysplasia or developed bones
  • Lead poisoning
  • Fluoride poisoning

Treatment of Bowlegs

Unless another underlying condition is diagnosed in the patient, it is not always advisable to treat this condition among infants. Doctors may only treat it if it gets progressively worse, or a worse condition is detected. The recommended treatment options include:

  • Special shoes
  • Braces
  • Casts
  • Surgery to correct bone abnormalities
  • Seeking treatment for the underlying conditions that have contributed to this condition.

Currently, there is no known way to prevent bow-leggedness. However, we can eliminate or treat the underlying conditions. For example, exposure to enough sunlight and a diet rich in vitamin D can help to cure or prevent rickets. However, at the age of two years, you should seek medical advice if the condition persists.

Diagnosing this condition early enough will enable you and your child to manage it better.

Arthritis is a long-term effect of this condition. Due to the abnormal pressure applied on the knee, hip, and ankle joints, t may be very severe when it affects these areas. In most cases, patient with bow-leg and arthritis are overweight. This adds to the problem they already have. In case a child undergoes a total knee replacement, the condition may need to be revised when he or she gets older. A total knee arthroplasty among such people is usually difficult because of the abnormal alignment of the bones and the surgeries they have already undergone in the past. Contact us on 03 9077 5915 for further assessment and treatment.