BOWED LEGS and BLOUNT'S DISEASE
DESCRIPTIONA child has bowed legs when the ankles touch and the knees do not touch. Bowed legs are part of a baby's normal growth and development and become easily observable at about age 2-1/2 months. The legs may remain normally bowed in appearance for several years. If a child remains bowlegged there may be an underlying disorder of bone malformation or an underlying bone disease sometimes called Blount's disease. Blount's disease occurs more frequently between ages 1 and 3 but may occur as late as 9 years through adolescence. Girls are more likely to be bowlegged than boys.
Appropriate health care includes:
Doctor's diagnosis and treatment, possibly with night braces.
Surgery to provide relief of symptoms, if simple measures don't correct the problem.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSCurving or bowing of the child's legs just below the knee.
Walking with the affected knee flexed, causing more bowing.
CAUSESAbnormal growth center at the upper part of the child's tibia (shin bone).
Rickets (vitamin D deficiency).
Bone malformations present at birth.
RISK FACTORSWalking earlier than average.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
If the cause is rickets, give the child 400 units of vitamin D daily.
Other causes: No preventive measures known.
X-rays of the child's knees and legs to look for underlying bone deformities.
Blood tests to rule out metabolic bone diseases.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSevere knee-joint complications.
PROBABLE OUTCOMENormal bowed legs usually correct themselves by age 4 or 5 years but may persist until 8 years.
Bowed legs caused by abnormalities can be corrected only by treating the underlying disease.
HOME CAREWhen indicated, your physician may recommend night braces to pull the legs slowly into a straighter position. If simple measures don't correct the problem, surgery will usually provide relief of symptoms.
MEDICATIONMedication usually is not necessary for this disorder.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Maintain normal activity for your child's age and size.
DIET & FLUIDS
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child's legs seem unusually bowed, getting worse or persisting beyond age 3.