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Genu varum

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Genu varum, is a condition where one or both legs are bowed outward at the knee.



Genu varum is normal in young children under 18 months of age.

Genu valgum
Genu valgum


  • Abnormal bone development
  • Blount disease
  • Fractures that do not heal correctly
  • Lead or fluoride poisoning
  • Rickets, which is caused by a lack of vitamin D


Symptoms are usually appearance and gait related - the knees do not touch when standing with feet together

Genu varum
Genu varum


  • Bowing of legs is same on both sides of the body (symmetrical)
  • If only one side is involved, it is considered unilateral


  • Blood tests may be needed to rule out rickets.
  • X-rays may be needed if:
  • The child is 3 years old or older.
  • The bowing is getting worse.
  • Bowing is not the same on both sides.
  • Other test results suggest disease.


  • Watchful observation in most cases
  • Physical therapy and exercises that promote straight legs
  • Braces
  • Surgery in severe or asymmetrical cases


In many cases the outcome is good, and there is most often no problem walking.


Bowlegs that does not go away and is not treated may lead to arthritis in the knees or hips over time.


Adequate nutrition including vitamin D

Alternative Names

Bow legs

Also see

Latest research - Genu varum

Clinical trials


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