View trusted insights from KidsHealth.org, the No. 1 most-viewed health site for children, created by the experts at Nemours.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- A to Z: Kyphosis, Congenital
- A to Z: Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
- A to Z: Kyphosis
- Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
- Physical Therapy
- A to Z: Abnormality of Gait (Gait Abnormality)
- Broken Bones, Sprains, and Strains
- When Your Child Needs a Cast
- Frequently Asked Questions About Casts
- Cerebral Palsy
- Should I Worry About the Way My Son Walks?
- A to Z: Genu Varum
- A to Z: Clubfoot
- Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Limited Mobility Special Needs Factsheet
- In-toeing & Out-toeing in Toddlers
- A to Z: Fracture, Fibula
- A to Z: Fracture, Radius
- A to Z: Fracture, Clavicle
- A to Z: Fracture, Distal Radius and Ulna
- A to Z: Fracture, Elbow
- A to Z: Scoliosis
- X-Ray Exam: Ankle
- X-Ray Exam: Hand
- X-Ray Exam: Wrist
- X-Ray Exam: Forearm
- X-Ray Exam: Hip
- X-Ray Exam: Humerus (Upper Arm)
- X-Ray Exam: Foot
- X-Ray Exam: Elbow
- X-Ray Exam: Femur (Upper Leg)
- X-Ray Exam: Leg Length
- X-Ray Exam: Scoliosis
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)
- Growth Plate Injuries
- Bones, Muscles, and Joints
- Broken Bones
- Blount Disease
- Preparing Your Child for Surgery
- Preparing Your Child for Anesthesia
- Spina Bifida
A to Z: Genu Varum
A to Z: Genu Varum
May also be called: Bowlegs
Genu varum (GEE-noo VAY-rum) is an exaggerated bending outward of the legs from the knees down that causes the knees to be spread apart when the feet and ankles are touching.
More to Know
Genu varum is a normal condition in children up to 18 months of age. Because of the way their bodies are positioned in the uterus, almost all babies are born bowlegged. Once they begin to walk and their legs start to bear weight, their legs usually straighten out.
Bow-leggedness beyond the age of 2 or bow-leggedness in one leg only can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as Blount disease (which causes abnormal growth in the shinbone) or rickets (a bone growth problem caused by a lack of vitamin D or calcium in the diet).
In most cases, genu varum requires no treatment. If it is the result of Blount disease, treatment may involve leg braces or surgery to straighten the legs. Rickets is usually treated by adding vitamin D and calcium to the diet.
Keep in Mind
Most of the time, genu varum is a perfectly normal condition that corrects itself by the time a child is about 2 or 3 years old. When treatment is necessary, braces or surgery can usually fix it and prevent any problems with walking.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Date reviewed: September 26, 2016