Genu varum commonly referred to as bow-leggedness, is a deformity marked by medial angulation of the leg in relation to the thigh, an outward bowing of the legs, giving the appearance of a bow. It is also known as bandy-leg, bowleg, bow-leg, and tibia vara. Usually there is an outward curvature of both femur and tibia. “Genu varum” is distinguished from Blount’s disease because it involves both the femur and the tibia, while “Blount’s disease” affects only the tibia with no femur involvement.
If a child is sickly, either with rickets or suffering from any ailment that prevents the due ossification of the bones, or is improperly fed, the bowed condition may remain persistent. Thus the chief cause of this deformity is rickets. Skeletal problems, infection, and tumors can also affect the growth of the leg, sometimes giving rise to a one-sided bow-leggedness. The remaining causes are occupational, especially among jockeys, and from physical trauma, the condition being very likely to supervene after accidents involving the condyles of the femur.
In most cases persisting after childhood, there is little or no effect on the ability to walk. Due to uneven stress and wear on the knees, however, even milder manifestations can see an accelerated onset of arthritis. Those with bowlegs and a genetic predisposition for developing arthritis will likely start having arthritic symptoms around age 30.
When caused by rickets, the most important thing is to treat the constitutional disease, at the same time instructing the mother never to place the child on its feet. In many cases this is quite sufficient in itself to effect a cure, but matters can be hastened somewhat by applying splints. When the deformity arises in older patients, either from trauma or occupation, the only treatment is surgery.
At Physioline, all the members of the rehabilitation team work together so as to provide proper care and the therapy in order to: