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Blount's Disease

January 29, 2024

Pedsortho.com Staff

Topics - Developmental

Description, Causes and Treatment of Blount's Disease in Children

Blount's disease is a growth disorder affecting the shin bone (tibia) that causes the lower leg to angle inward, resembling an extreme case of bowlegging. It's more serious than the common bowlegs many children experience and can lead to significant issues if left untreated. Here are key aspects of Blount's disease in children:

Types of Blount's Disease

  1. Infantile Blount's Disease: This type occurs in young children, typically before the age of 4.

  2. Adolescent Blount's Disease: Occurs in older children and adolescents, usually around the onset of puberty.

Causes

The exact cause of Blount's disease is not fully understood. It is believed to be related to mechanical factors combined with abnormal growth at the top of the tibia. Factors that might increase the risk include:

  • Obesity

  • Early walking age

  • Genetic predisposition

Symptoms

  • Pronounced Bowing of the Legs: Unlike physiological bowlegs, the bowing in Blount's disease tends to worsen over time.

  • Difference in Leg Lengths: One leg may be shorter than the other.

  • Knee Pain or Discomfort

Diagnosis

  • Physical Examination: A doctor will examine the child's legs and assess their alignment.

  • X-Rays: Imaging tests are crucial for diagnosing Blount's disease and distinguishing it from physiological bowlegs.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the child's age and the severity of the condition:

  • Bracing: In younger children, especially those under the age of 4, leg braces can often be effective.

  • Surgery: In more severe cases, or if bracing is not effective, surgical options may be considered. Surgery might involve correcting the growth of the tibia or realigning the bones.

Prognosis

The prognosis for Blount's disease is generally good with proper treatment. Early intervention, especially in younger children, can often correct the leg alignment. In more severe cases or if left untreated, Blount's disease can lead to persistent problems with leg alignment and joint issues in the knee.

It's important for children showing signs of significant bowing, especially if it's asymmetrical or worsening, to be evaluated by a healthcare professional for appropriate diagnosis and management.

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