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Bowed Legs (Genu Varum)

Common in toddlers, bowed legs is a condition where the legs bow or curve outward, causing the knees to appear far apart.  In physiologic genu varum, the bowed legs are a normal developmental condition that will naturally begin to straighten as the child grows.  For most children, the bowing begins to improve at 18 months and the legs will become straight by 3 to 4 years of age.  Sometimes, the abnormality may be due to a bone disease or specific condition affecting the growth plates.

Your physician will review the child’s health history and examine the lower extremities.  Depending on the child’s age and deformity, x-rays may be ordered to determine if the bowed legs is caused by a disorder requiring treatment.

For normal bowing, observation is appropriate as the child’s legs will almost always spontaneously correct by 3 to 4 years of age.  For bowing caused by a specific condition, treatment such as bracing, medication, or possibly surgery may be recommended to correct the deformity.

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