View trusted insights from KidsHealth.org, the No. 1 most-viewed health site for children, created by the experts at Nemours. We've also provided information from the most-respected nonprofit organizations.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Should I Worry About the Way My Son Walks?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Casts
- Preparing Your Child for Anesthesia
- Preparing Your Child for Surgery
- A to Z: Fracture, Fibula
- A to Z: Fracture, Clavicle
- A to Z: Fracture, Distal Radius and Ulna
- A to Z: Fracture, Elbow
- A to Z: Fracture, Radius
- Broken Bones, Sprains, and Strains
- When Your Child Needs a Cast
- Cerebral Palsy
- Blount Disease
- Bones, Muscles, and Joints
- Broken Bones
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)
- Spina Bifida
- A to Z: Abnormality of Gait (Gait Abnormality)
- A to Z: Scoliosis
- Limited Mobility Special Needs Factsheet
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Physical Therapy
- A to Z: Clubfoot
- A to Z: Kyphosis, Congenital
- A to Z: Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
- A to Z: Kyphosis
- A to Z: Genu Varum
- Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
- In-toeing & Out-toeing in Toddlers
- Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions
- Growth Plate Injuries
- X-Ray Exam: Ankle
- X-Ray Exam: Wrist
- X-Ray Exam: Foot
- X-Ray Exam: Elbow
- X-Ray Exam: Femur (Upper Leg)
- X-Ray Exam: Forearm
- X-Ray Exam: Hand
- X-Ray Exam: Hip
- X-Ray Exam: Humerus (Upper Arm)
- X-Ray Exam: Leg Length
- X-Ray Exam: Scoliosis
Trusted External Resources
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: April 28, 2017