Diseases & Conditions


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Bowed legs


Abnormal appearance of the legs, curving outward and resulting in a gap between the knees when standing. Some degree of bowing is normal in small children. If a doctor has determined by observation or X-ray examination that a child has bowed legs, this condition might require treatment to prevent future problems. In the first 18 months of life, the legs naturally bow outward, straightening as the baby grows. By age four, many children are knock-kneed, but by age seven through 10 the legs again become straight. Cause Children with bowed legs often have a family history of the condition. In other cases, bowing may be caused by infection or an abnormality of the growth plate at the top of the shinbone. Early walking does not always cause bowed legs. Treatment If the bowing is not equal in both legs or if a child is older than 24 months, the doctor may want to take a X ray of the legs to help determine if treatment is necessary. Treatment may involve wearing braces or surgery when the child is older. In untreated, severe cases, arthritis or an awkward gait may occur in later life.