Bowlegs In Children: The Symptoms And The Causes


It is common for a toddler to already start showing signs of legs that are bowed when the child is still very young. A child that has bowed legs usually has a gap that is distinctive between their lower legs and knees when they are standing with the feet together. Bowed legs will either effect one of or both the legs and a pediatrician or the parents will probably see that the legs of the child are starting to curve outwards in the initial years of the child’s life. 

The Causes Of Bowed Legs In A Child 

Many young children that start to exhibit bowed-legs when they are babies have what is known as physiological genu-varum. In many cases, this problem will correct itself eventually, and usually does not affect the mobility of the child or result in complications that are long-term.

A child that displays significant bowing might be examined for Blount’s disease, which is the condition which results in abnormalities in the tibia growth plate, or in the upper shinbone. For children that are under the age of 2, physicians might at this stage fail to distinguish physiologic genu-varum from bowing. Yet if by the age of three the bowing is not resolved, most doctors will conduct X-rays to find out if the patient has Blount’s disease. 

Rickets may also be the cause for bow-legs in a child. This is a type of bone disease that can cause other types of deformities in the bones. This condition is uncommon when it comes to developed countries as this condition is the direct result of a lack in calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D in the diet of the child. A child with bowed legs is likely deficient in vitamin D and supplements and lifestyle change can help solve this.

Symptoms Linked With Bowed Legs In Children 

Symptoms linked to bowed legs will be at its most obvious when a child stands or walks. A common symptom for this condition is an uncoordinated and awkward walking pattern. Another common symptom in toddlers that have bowed legs is known as turning in or in-toeing in the feet. Children that have bowed feet will usually not be delayed when it comes to meeting up to developmental milestones, yet the bowing may appear to be somewhat alarming. 

While bowed legs will not usually result in pain, bowing that is prolonged into the adolescent years can result in discomfort in the hips or ankle or knee pain caused from consistent stress to these joints. A child that has bowed legs might lose balance or trip more frequently. 

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment options currently available for a child with bowing that includes both non-surgical and surgical options. The toddlers that have physiological genu-varum will not need active treatment, yet a pediatrician will monitor the child until such stage that the condition resolves. In rare cases, bowing may not resolve completely and the parents might have an aesthetic concern. When it comes to these cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to correct the bowed legs which were unable to resolve in the earlier years of childhood.