If you have a toddler who has just started walking, you may have concerns if their legs look bowed. However, you may not have to worry. In many cases, bow legs are a normal part of development. But, you may wonder how much of it is normal and when it should go away. Here are some reasons why young toddlers have bow legs, what signs indicate that bow legs are a problem, and when you should be concerned.
Why Do Young Toddlers Have Bow Legs?
When your child was in the womb, the limited space put constraints on their leg development. This type is known as physiologic bow legs and it's completely normal. As your child grows and begins to walk, the legs will straighten out. Many children show few signs of being bow-legged by the time they are two or three.
What Are Signs of a Problem With Bow Legs?
In some rare cases, bow legs are a problem and need treatment. If the bow in the legs doesn't get better with age or slowly gets worse, then your child may need treatment. You should also be concerned if your family has a history of this problem.
What Are Unusual Causes of Bow Legs?
Other than physiologic bow legs, other causes for the issue include rickets and Blount's disease. If your child is a picky eater or has a metabolic issue, then they may not get enough calcium and vitamin D for proper bone health. Blount's disease is an abnormal growth of the tibia, also known as the shin bone. It gets progressively worse over time. The cause of Blount's disease is unknown but may be genetic.
How Are Problem Bow Legs Corrected?
If the cause is nutrient-related, increasing the nutrient may stop or improve the problem if caught early. Some doctors employ braces for children older than two or three who show signs of a worsening condition. Surgery is usually the last resort and reserved for cases that need more aggressive treatment. It is usually prescribed for children older than three who do not respond to braces and traditional treatments.
Bowed legs can be alarming but usually do not cause problems or pain for your child. However, you should still have a doctor's examination to rule out serious issues. See your child's doctor regularly to catch development problems early. If everything is alright, your child should grow out of their bow legs without intervention. Talk to a child doctor if you have any special concerns about bow legs or treatment for problems.