In growing children, limb deformities of the legs, including bow legs (genu varum) and knock knees (genu valgum) are among the most frequent causes for a visit to the pediatric orthopedist. In many cases, the alignment of the legs corrects naturally. However, in those cases where the condition persists or the abnormality becomes more pronounced, medical attention is required.
Children who are born with or who develop differences in the length of their limbs can benefit from a range of treatments that may be as simple as the use of adaptive footwear or as sophisticated as limb lengthening surgical intervention that helps generate new bone in the affected limb. When limb lengthening surgery is indicated, orthopedic surgeons can safely and gradually lengthen the affected bone by up to 15 to 20 centimeters.
Reasons for Limb Deformity in Children
Sometimes a child can be born that way. This is called a congenital deformity. Examples of congenital limb deformities include congenital femoral deficiency, tibia hemimelia, or fibula hemimelia. Children with clubfeet can be considered to have a congenital limb deformity as well.
Some children may develop limb deformities associated with another condition that they have. For example, children who are born with dwarfisms such as achondroplasia often are bowlegged that can lead to future problems.