Bow Legged


What is bow legged?

Bow legged is a common way to call bow legs (varus knee) in children.

It is a condition very frequent in children under the age of 2. When a child with bow legs stands with feet together the knees don’t touch and there is a noticeable space between the two knees.

The opposite situation is called “knock-knees” or genu valgum.


bow legs vs normal vs knock knees Image
Bow Legs vs Normal Knees vs Knock Knees


Is your child bow legged?

Bow legs are most evident when the child stands and walk.

However children with bow legs have a normal development and coordination.

Sometimes children with this condition may develop also Intoeing (Pigeon toed).

Usually bow legged naturally resolves as the child grows, but if it remains by the age of 3 there may be an underlying bone disease.

X-rays or other tests may be ordered by the orthopedic surgeon to look for any other conditions or underlying bone deformities after the age of 18 / 26 months


Bow legged causes

In most children bowlegs is a natural variation related to development and it resolves itself (physiologic genu varum).

However there are other conditions that can cause a children legs to bow:

  • Blount’s Disease
  • Rickets


Bow leg correction and treatment

As written above physiologic genu varum resolves spontaneously, so treatment will depend on the child’s age and medical history.

A physical examination every six months will be advised.

Blount’s disease is usually corrected with a brace or more frequently with surgery, while Rickets with a diet that includes vitamin D and calcium. If deformity persists or worsens surgery is advised.

There are different procedures that can be used depending on entity of the deformity.

Minimally invasive surgery with 8 plates (guided growth and correction) is used in minor deviation and younger children while tibial osteotomy is indicated for more severe cases.


About Professor Portinaro’s experience

Prof. Portinaro in his long-standing experience performed around 2000 guided growth surgeries and 300 tibial osteotomies.

Watch Prof. Portinaro’s video on Bow Legs


Discover How Prof. Portinario Deals With His Patients


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