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Femoral Anteversion in Children

  • Most children don't need treatment for femoral anteversion, since the condition usually resolves on it own. For kids who need surgery for severe forms of the condition, the outlook is excellent. The surgeries are quite safe. And in kids, the bones heal quite reliably, so they should do very well.

    If your child has been diagnosed with femoral anteversion, you’ll have concerns and questions about her health, treatment, recovery and other issues. It may comfort you to know that Boston Children's Hospital is a world leader in pediatric orthopedics, and we have a wealth of experience helping children with this fairly common and treatable hip condition. We specialize in innovative, family-centered care that supports your child and family every step of the way.

    About femoral anteversion

    • Femoral anteversion is an inward twisting of the thigh bone (called the femur—the bone located between the hip and knee).
    • Femoral anteversion causes a child's knees and feet to turn inward and have a "pigeon-toed" appearance.
    • It usually shows up when a child is between 2 and 4 years old (the time period when inward rotation from the hip tends to increase), and is most obvious at age 5 to 6.
    • The condition is somewhat more common in girls than boys.
    • It often, but not always, occurs symmetrically in both thigh bones.
    • As your child’s knees and feet turn in, her legs look bowed. This bowed leg stance actually gives your child a more stable balance when she stands.

    In femoral anteversion, your child’s balance is fairly unsteady when she tries to walk normally with her feet close together or turned out. The unsteadiness may cause her to trip and fall more often than is usual.

    The condition usually normalizes by itself by the time a child is 8 or 9 years old, or by the time she reaches adolescence.

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches femoral anteversion and other developmental hip conditions

    Doctors at Boston Children's work to make sure that your child's legs can straighten themselves naturally, as happens with most children. Only the most severe cases need surgery.

    Whatever treatment your child’s hip problem requires, you can have peace of mind knowing that, as a national and international orthopedics referral center, our Orthopedic Center has vast experience treating children with every kind of hip condition, some of which few other pediatric hospitals have ever encountered. As a result, we can provide expert diagnosis, treatment and care for every level of complexity and severity of femoral anteversion.

    Unique expertise in treating adolescents with hip problems. Many adolescents and young adults with hip problems need diagnostic and surgical techniques that differ significantly from what’s indicated for younger children. Boston Children’s Child and Adult Hip Preservation Program is the only such program of its kind. We offer the extensive experience and the most advanced techniques, with clinicians and researchers who are dedicated to finding better ways to care for adolescents and young adults with hip problems.

    One of the first programs. Our Orthopedic Center is one of the world’s first comprehensive pediatric orthopedic programs, and is now the largest pediatric orthopedic surgery center in the United States, performing more 5,000 procedures each year. Our program, consistently ranked among the top in the country by U.S.News & World Report, is the nation’s preeminent care center for children and young adults with developmental, congenital, post-traumatic and neuromuscular problems of the musculoskeletal system.

    Femoral anteversion: Reviewed by Young-Jo Kim, MD, PhD

    © Boston Children's Hospital, 2011

    The world's most extensive pediatric research enterprise

    At Boston Children’s, we’re known for our innovative treatments and a research-driven approach. We’re home to the world’s most extensive pediatric research enterprise, and we partner with elite health care and biotech organizations around the globe. But as specialists in family-centered care, our physicians never forget that your child is precious, and not just a patient.

    Orthopedic care in lots of places

    Boston Children’s physicians provides orthopedic care at locations in Lexington, Peabody, Weymouth and Waltham, as well as at our main campus in Boston.

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