top of page
Bow Legs

January 29, 2024 Staff

Topics - Developmental

Nature, Causes and Treatment of Bow Legs in Children

Bow legs, medically known as genu varum, is a common condition in infants and toddlers where the legs curve outward at the knees while the feet and ankles touch. This condition gives the appearance of an archer's bow, hence the name "bow legs." Here are key aspects to understand about bow legs in children:


  • Appearance: When a child with bow legs stands with their feet together, there is a distinct gap between the knees.

  • Age of Onset: It is normal for infants to have bow legs. The condition usually becomes more noticeable when the child starts to walk.

  • Improvement Over Time: In many cases, bow legs naturally straighten out as the child grows and develops.


  • Physiological Development: Most cases of bow legs in young children are a normal part of physiological development.

  • Nutritional Factors: Conditions like Vitamin D deficiency or rickets can lead to bow legs due to the softening of bones.

  • Genetic Conditions: Rarely, genetic disorders can cause more severe and persistent bow legs.


  • Physical Examination: A pediatrician can diagnose bow legs through a physical examination and observing the child's walking pattern.

  • Imaging Tests: If there are concerns about the severity or cause, X-rays may be conducted to assess the bone structure.


  • Natural Correction: In most cases, no treatment is necessary as the legs typically straighten with growth.

  • Nutritional Supplements: If the bow legs are due to nutritional deficiencies, supplements like Vitamin D and calcium may be recommended.

  • Bracing or Surgery: In severe or persistent cases, especially those not due to normal growth, bracing or surgery might be considered.


The prognosis for children with bow legs is generally very good. Most children see a natural correction of the condition as they grow, especially by the age of 3 to 4 years. However, if bow legs persist beyond this age or are accompanied by other symptoms, further evaluation may be needed.

It's always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional if there are concerns about a child's leg alignment, to ensure appropriate monitoring and management.

bottom of page