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Bowlegs in Children

  • Overview

    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.

    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.

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