Bow legs can be a frightening thought even for people who enjoy the ability to walk comfortably without having to deal with this condition on a daily basis. Things are much worse for someone who is affected by the condition and has nowhere to go for help and advice. The reason for this article is precisely that – to ensure you have a fair idea of what bow legs are all about, so that you can act accordingly and take the right steps in treating it.
Bow legs, as the name suggests, are the distinctive and unusual bending of one’s legs in the outward direction. No matter how close one brings one’s feet together, an unusually large gap remains between the knees. Not only this, but the legs form a clear and outward bow-shaped curve.
All children are born with bow legs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After being in the mother’s womb for several months, all crouched up and folded, it is but natural for a child to be born that way. Once, of course, the child starts walking and is exposed to adequate amounts of nutrition through food and exposure to sunlight, this condition wears off.
By the time the child reaches the age of around four years, the legs are completely straightened. This is all due to the normal processes of growth and development. However, in some cases, things don’t go this way, and the child grows into an adult with bow legs as a permanent or chronic condition.
Factors causing bow legs
If a child with bow legs retains the condition into adulthood, this could be due to actual deficiencies and disorders, such as Blout’s Disease, Vitamin D deficiency, lead or fluoride poisoning, and Rickets.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common factor causing bow legs. While it usually is a result of malnutrition, it can also be accompanied by a deficiency of calcium and phosphorus, all of which are important nutrients necessary for proper growth and for the development of bones.
Preventing such malnutrition can also help prevent a child from developing Rickets, which can also lead to bow legs, or worsen the condition if it already exists. This makes it very important to have your child see a pediatrician regularly during the first four years of the child’s life, to ensure that there is no vitamin deficiency. Besides ensuring a balanced diet, Vitamin D deficiency can also be prevented by exposing one’s growing child to at least ten minutes of sunlight every day, and by getting a doctor to prescribe supplements of those vitamins that the child is deficient in.
Blout’s Disease is best detected during the early stages, when the child is still developing and hasn’t crossed the age of four years or so. The reason being that braces, casts and shoes used to treat bow legs are most effective when the bones are still growing and have a better chance of re-aligning themselves. If delayed beyond the growing years, the condition can become persistent or chronic. While it can still be treated in adulthood, it will require will and determination, and a carefully formulated regimen of dietary supplementation and special physical training.