Conditions + Treatments

Bowlegs Symptoms & Causes

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Contact the Lower Extremity Program

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

Should I be concerned with my baby's progress in walking?

Below are considered average developmental milestones in your baby's ability to walk:

   •   6-10 months – most babies learn to pull themselves up to a standing 
       position.
   •   7-13 months – most babies will be moving about while holding on to
       furniture for support. Babies can walk with
       support from a parent (but don't force them into walking on their own).
   •   11-14 months – most babies will start to walk on their own, usually by 14 months.

Your child, like most children, was probably born with bowlegs, which usually straighten themselves out as your child gets older.

What causes bowlegs in children?

Most often, bowlegs develop as part of natural growth, although certain conditions, such as Blount's disease and bone malformations present at birth, may cause a child's legs to bow. In Blount's disease, your child's shin bone (tibia) grows abnormally, causing a sharp curve below the knees. A child with Blount's disease is forced to walk with the affected knee flexed, which increases bowing of the leg. This can lead to severe knee joint problems. Blount's disease is more likely to affect female children, African-American children, obese or short children, or children who walk at an early age.

Some metabolic disorders, such as rickets, a disease caused by Vitamin D deficiency, can also cause bowlegs. This occurs when Vitamin D deficiency affects and weakens a child's bones, causing the legs to bow.

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Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
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