Bowed legs is where there is a gap either between the legs when the feet and ankles are together and is a common part of a child's development.

Overview

What are bowed legs?

A child has bow legs (genu varum) if they stand with their feet and ankles together, but their knees do not meet and instead there is a gap between them.

Cause

Many infants have bowed legs and if a child has just started walking, you will see that when they walk, their knees are not close together. This is a normal part of a child’s development and by the time a child turns two, their legs will be straighter.

Diagnosis

A physical assessment will be carried out to see if the gap in your child’s legs is within the normal range. This will measure the distance between their knees and this will constantly be reviewed as the child develops until either the gap has got smaller by itself, or your doctor decides that treatment may be required.

An X-ray may help to rule out any problems with bone development and a blood test may also check whether there is any underlying reason for the bow legs.


Treatment

As with knock knees, often a child with bow legs will see over time that the legs correct themselves. Check-ups at a clinic will help to monitor your child’s progress and to inform ongoing decisions about whether it is best to continue watching and waiting or to move to treatment.


Helpful resources


A patient's story

Ellis

"I wanted to thank you for not only your work on Ellis' elbow, but your positive attitude and swift treatment. Everything healed well and Ellis is now back at the gym and will start competing in CrossFit - I don't think he would be doing this without your help."

Ian, Dad to Ellis

Where we work

We are based at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton and also see children at The Portland hospital, London and 4 Harley Street, London. We offer a range of clinics, so can see your child at a time that is convenient for you.

The Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital


Eastern Road


Brighton


BN2 5BE

The Portland Hospital


2nd floor, 215 Great Portland Street


London


W1W 5AH

4 Harley Street


London


W1G 9PB