Genu varum (GEE-noo VAY-rum) is an exaggerated bending outward of the legs from
the knees down that causes the knees to be spread apart when the feet and ankles are
More to Know
Genu varum is a normal condition in children up to 18 months of age. Because of
the way their bodies are positioned in the uterus, almost all babies are born bowlegged.
Once they begin to walk and their legs start to bear weight, their legs usually straighten
Bow-leggedness beyond the age of 2 or bow-leggedness in one leg only can be a sign
of a more serious condition,
such as Blount disease
(which causes abnormal growth in the shinbone) or rickets (a bone growth problem caused
by a lack of vitamin D or calcium in the diet).
In most cases, genu varum requires no treatment. If it is the result of Blount
disease, treatment may involve leg braces or surgery to straighten the legs. Rickets
is usually treated by adding vitamin D and calcium to the diet.
Keep in Mind
Most of the time, genu varum is a perfectly normal condition that corrects itself
by the time a child is about 2 or 3 years old. When treatment is necessary, braces
or surgery can usually fix it and prevent any problems with walking.
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