O-Legs (Genu Varum)
Bow legs, also known as genu varum, is a condition in which the legs have an outward curvature, causing the knees to be spaced apart while the ankles are close together when standing with the feet together. Bow legs are commonly seen in infants and toddlers as a normal part of their development, but they usually resolve as the child grows. However, in some cases, bow legs may persist or develop later in life, leading to potential functional and cosmetic concerns.
There are several causes and contributing factors to bow legs, including:
Physiological bow legs:
In infants and toddlers, bow legs are often a normal part of growth and development. As the child begins to walk and bear weight on their legs, the bones gradually straighten out, and the legs become aligned. This type of bow legs typically corrects itself without any intervention.
Rickets is a bone disorder characterized by a deficiency in vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate, which leads to weakened and soft bones. Rickets can cause bow legs as the weight-bearing bones fail to properly mineralize and support the body’s weight.
: Blount’s disease is a growth disorder that affects the tibia (shin bone). It results in abnormal growth of the inner side of the bone, leading to bowing of the legs. It is more commonly seen in children and adolescents and may require medical intervention.
Genetic or hereditary factors:
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to bow legs, where the bones naturally develop with an outward curvature.
Excessive weight can contribute to the development or worsening of bow legs due to the increased stress on the lower limbs.
The treatment for bow legs depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In cases where bow legs are physiological or mild, no treatment may be necessary, as the legs often straighten out naturally over time. However, if the bow legs persist or are causing functional difficulties, medical intervention may be recommended.
Physical therapy may be prescribed to address muscle imbalances, improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and correct alignment.
In some cases, bracing or orthotic devices may be used to support proper leg alignment and encourage straightening of the bones.
Severe or progressive bow legs may require surgical correction. Surgical procedures aim to realign the bones and correct the underlying issues contributing to the bow legs.