Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions
Many young kids have bow legs (genu varum), flat feet, knock knees (genu valgum), in-toeing, out-toeing, or toe walking.
Often, as kids grow these conditions can correct themselves without treatment.
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Bow legs (genu varum) is an outward bending of the legs from the knees down. It's common in infants and, in many cases, corrects itself as a child grows.
Most babies are born with flat feet and develop arches as they grow. But in some kids the arch never fully develops. Being flat-footed usually isn't a cause for concern and shouldn't interfere with playing sports. Sometimes, doctors will recommend inserting arch supports into shoes to ease foot pain.
Babies may have a natural turning in of the legs until they begin standing. But as they get older, some might walk with feet turn inward. In-towing usually doesn't interfere with walking, running, or sports, and often ends on its own as kids grow into teens.
Many kids have knock-knees (genu valgum) when they're between 3 and 6 years old. Treatment is almost never needed because the legs usually straighten on their own.
Out-toeing is when feet point outward while walking. It happens to a lot of kids when they are learning to walk. It's not painful and it usually gets better as kids grow older.
Toe walking is common among toddlers as they learn to walk. It often goes away by age 2, but lasts in some kids. If an otherwise healthy child keeps toe walking, doctors might recommend physical therapy to learn stretching exercises.