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Bow legs, from what the name indicates, involves the unusual bending of the legs in the shape of a bow. This condition is also medically known as Genu Varum. One way of knowing if your legs are bowed is by standing straight with your feet together and measuring how far apart your knees lie from each other. If the distance between your knees is much more than that between your ankles, you certainly have bow legs, and must treat them immediately. Just like in the case of any other ailment, of course, knowing what bow legs are and how the condition manifests itself in humans is vital to its treatment.
The two forms of the condition
Bow legs result either due to physiological or pathological factors. When caused due to physiological factors, it tends to occur naturally in a child and then frizzles out past the age of 3-4 years. It then completely fades away as the child develops into an adult.
However, if a person develops bow legs due to pathological conditions such as Rickets, deficiency of vitamin D, or Blountís Disease, the condition could very well continue into adulthood. It then becomes increasingly difficult to deal with. However, if detected in its early stages, even the pathological version of bow legs can be treated depending on what is causing it.
Treatment based on the cause
While, as I said earlier, bow legs in children tend to straighten out quite naturally, sometimes this does not occur. This is usually due to malnutrition or disease, and if left untreated the condition can persist and become permanent. Letís see how, this happens.
Vitamin D deficiency and Rickets
Sometimes a child may not get sufficient amounts of vitamin D, essential in bone development. This can hamper the natural straightening of bow legs common in young children and also cause a secondary complication called Rickets. Rickets itself can be a precursor for bow legs, as it involves weakening of bones. For this purpose, it is critically important to expose children to sunlight for at least 5-10 minutes daily, and to ensure an adequate vitamin D intake, through either diet or supplements. Ensuring a child has the right amounts of vitamin D can prevent the child having bow legs or Rickets as an adult.
Blountís syndrome is a disorder caused due to abnormal bone development. A child with Blountís syndrome does not show distinctive signs of the condition other than the bow-legged shape of the legs. For a doctor to be able to tell if a child with bow legs actually also has Blountís disease, an X-ray report is crucial. Once diagnosed, medical braces and casts can be quite handy in re-shaping the childís legs while the bones are still developing. For this, early diagnosis is important. In severe cases, surgery may also become necessary.
Arthritis and Gout
At times, adults who grew up without bow legs, suddenly develop the condition due to arthritis and gout, both of which tend to destroy the joints. Immediate medical attention is required in such a situation, in which treatment generally involves a certain combination of diet, supplementation and surgery.
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