Bowed legs is a condition characterized by legs that bend outwards around or below the knees, even when the ankles are together. It occurs when the growth plate near the inside of the knee slows down or stops making new bone while the growth plate near the outside continues to grow normally, giving a bowed appearance to the legs.
Bowed legs are a natural part of a child’s development, typically around two years old. In some children, the conditions worsen or develop in later childhood. However, many factors, such as the child’s nutrition, health, and lack of vitamin D, can influence the condition.
If Not Treated
If Not Treated
Neglecting bowed legs leads to persistent bowing and, in later life, causes discomfort and pain in the hips, knees, and/or ankles because of abnormal joint stress. Without medical intervention, children with bowed legs can face a lifetime of disability.
Children with disabilities often experience stigma and discrimination, leading to poor self-confidence and isolation.
The approach to treatment depends on the severity of the bowed legs.
In milder cases, surgeons place a small plate on the outside of the knee, allowing the knee to grow gradually straight over 6-12 months.
In more severe cases or where guided growth is less suitable, a more extensive surgery called an osteotomy is necessary to adjust the leg’s orientation. Doctors start by removing a triangular piece of bone to straighten the leg. The osteotomy is then secured with a wire or plate that provides the stability needed while the bone heals.