Bow Legs in Children

Bow Legs In Children

What is Bow Legs?

Bowed legs is a condition in most children under 2 years old. A child with bowed legs is where your knees stay wide apart even when your feet are together. This may be a result of either one, or both, of the legs curving outward. Walking often exaggerates this bowed appearance.

Medical Practitioners refer to this type of bowing as genu varum. For most people, bow legs doesn’t cause any major problems or impact walking, running and other activities.

Who gets Bow Legs?

Bow legs is common in infants and toddlers when first starting to walk and it commonly resolves by 3 years of age. By ages 7-8 years, most children’s legs retain the angle that they have for adulthood.

What causes Bow Legs?

Infants usually have Bow Legs because of their folded position in the mother’s womb during development. Some diseases or conditions such as ricket’s, lead or fluoride poisoning, tumors, abnormal bone development, broken bones that haven’t healed properly, and Blount’s disease can also cause Bow Legs. Most of these present in one leg, not both.

Should I get Bow Legs checked out by a Podiatrist?

In most cases, children under the age of two years with symmetrical bowing don’t need treatment because the condition is normal, however it is recommended that they should be reviewed every six months.

Children who are over the age of three years or with asymmetrical bow legs should seek treatment and advice from a Podiatrist.

How to treat Bow Legs?

Severe bow legs may require particular shoes or Orthotics.

When bow legs is in only one leg or isn’t correcting itself, often blood tests are done to rule out any vitamin deficiency, and X-rays are taken to determine the particular cause.


If you are worried about your child’s legs or their development, make an appointment with one of our Podiatrists who specialises in children’s feet by calling us (03) 9372-7452 or use our online booking enquiry form today.

Article by: Kim Thompson
                        BHSc Pod NZ MAPodA AAPSM

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