Conditions + Treatments

Bowlegs in Children

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Contact the Lower Extremity Program

  • 1-617-355-6021
  • International: 1-617-355-5209
  • Locations

Children with bowlegs, when standing straight with toes pointed forward, have ankles that touch but knees that do not. Bowlegs is a condition involving the shin and thigh (tibia and femur) bones. Having bowlegs is considered a normal part of growth in young children, as are "knock-knees," in which both knees point inward. Bowlegs usually go away on their own by the time your child is four or five years old, or sometimes as old as eight years old.

But if your child remains bowlegged, it may be a sign of an underlying bone disease, such as Blount's disease or rickets, which is caused by a Vitamin D deficiency.

Bowleg compared to norma at Boston Children's Hospital

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches bowlegs

Bowlegs cannot be corrected permanently without first treating the underlying cause for the condition. In the meantime, doctors at Children's try to make sure that your child's legs can straighten themselves naturally. If this doesn't work, doctors may require your child to wear corrective leg braces. Only the most severe cases would require surgery.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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