Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Bowlegs and Knock-Knees

By

Simeon A. Boyadjiev Boyd

, MD, University of California, Davis

Last full review/revision May 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

Bowlegs

In bowlegs, what doctors call genu varum, the legs appear curved out at the knees so that the knees are more widely separated than normal. This appearance is usually created by the position of the legs in the uterus before birth. This disorder is common among toddlers and usually resolves without treatment by the time the toddler is 18 months old. If bowlegs persists or becomes more severe, doctors need to rule out rickets Hypophosphatemic Rickets Hypophosphatemic rickets is a disorder in which the bones become painfully soft and bend easily because the blood contains low levels of the electrolyte phosphate. (See also Introduction to... read more or other metabolic bone diseases.

Doctors may also suspect Blount disease, which is caused by a problem with the growth plate in the shinbone (tibia). Blount disease can affect one or both legs. Most commonly, it appears after the first year of life. However, it can develop in adolescence in children who are overweight. Early diagnosis of Blount disease is difficult because the problem may not show up on x-rays. Early use of splints or leg braces can be effective in children under 3 years of age with Blount disease. Older children may be treated with surgery.

Knock-knees

Knock-knees, what doctors call genu valgum, is less common than bowlegs. In knock-knees, the knees point inward. Even if severe, knock-knees usually resolves without treatment by the time the child is 9 years old. Children older than 10 years with severe knock-knees may need surgery.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
THALOMID
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Test your knowledge
Separation Anxiety and Stranger Anxiety
An important part of normal development is an infant’s growing attachment to its parents. As this bond strengthens, the infant may express fear or anxiety when the parents leave. This “separation anxiety” typically begins at around 8 months of age and resolves at around 24 months of age. Which of the following is the normal and expected infant behavior in reaction to a parent leaving the room during the time period of separation anxiety?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP