Bow legs correction – How to fix bow legs
Bow legs is a skeletal deformity that usually occurs in small children and can persist till adulthood and even after that. Medically know as genu varum, bow legs is a condition in which the knees remain far apart from each other, even when the person stands with ankles close together. The term ‘bow legs’ comes from the shape of the legs of the affected person which becomes bow shaped due to deformity in the knee region.
Though babies are naturally born with bow shaped legs which occur due to their position in the womb of their mother, yet the shape gradually changes as they start growing up. The skeletal system gradually becomes stronger as babies grow up and start walking on their legs, the legs gradually become straight. But in some cases, due to deficiencies as well as some diseases, the natural skeletal growth of the baby is hampered as a result of which the legs fail to return to their normal shape and thus the child becomes bow legged.
The average age to detect the problem of bow legs in kids is around 3 – 3 ½ years and even if no changes occur by that time, bow legs correction techniques need to applied. However, in some cases, correction techniques may not work well. In such cases, it is suggested to wait till the child attains adulthood and then resume the bow legs correction methods to finally get straight legs.
How can bow legs be corrected?
What seems to be very normal after birth and even a few months after it, becomes a problem when the child crosses the age of 3. Bow legs can severely hamper the growth and progress of the child and can become a nightmare if the problem continues into adulthood and even beyond. That is why it is very important to opt for bow legs correction as soon as possible.
Bow legs correction in children
If you notice that your child is having problems getting the proper leg shape, then as a parent, it is important that you take the matter seriously. If you can treat the problem at the very root, it may not become a nightmare for your child as well as you. Here is a list of things that you need to do:
If your child has just started walking and is 1 ½ to 2 years old, then it is best that you do not panic about his/her bow legs. Since the child hasn’t yet attained the threshold age of three, there is a fair chance that the legs will gradually get into shape as they walk more and more. At such an age, it is important that you ensure that the child walks properly, with legs as much straight as possible. This will help the child to come out of the grips of bow legs naturally and will prevent any future problems. You may also need to consult with the pediatrician on a regular basis to make sure things are changing for the good.
Eliminate or treat the cause
Often, there may be underlying factors that may affect the shape of the legs and cause them to become bow-shaped. For example, Blount’s disease, uncured bone fracture and trauma, unusual bone growth, lead poisoning, etc. may be the reason of bow-shaped legs. So, before you go for bow legs correction, it is important that you nip off the causal factor totally.
Include sufficient Vitamin D in the diet
As your child grows up, it will require a healthy diet that can supply it with all the necessary nutrients. Amongst others, the daily intake of Vitamin D in sufficient amounts is extremely important if you want you to prevent the onset of bow legs in your child. Vitamin D is essential to prevent the occurrence of Rickets, a disease of the skeletal system that usually affects very small children and can deform the overall skeletal structure, especially the legs. Intake of Vitamin in proper amount will ensure that Rickets cannot lead to the onset of problems like bow legs and also assist in curing it in young children.
Use medical braces
Much like dental braces, these medical braces are used to restore the legs to their original shape. Casts or special shoes may also be used along with these braces for bow legs correction. However, it is to be understood that this technique is usually suggested or adopted only if the leg deformity is severe and the treatment needed for the correction has to be strong. Medical braces have to be worn by the child till the legs gain their normal shape.
Bow legs correction for adolescents or adults
If all the techniques mentioned above fail to cure the problem of bow-shaped legs in your child, you may be looking towards a difficult situation ahead. Though it becomes much more complicated to cure the deformity in grownups and adults, yet there are a number of techniques that you can adopt to cure the problem.
You can hire a certified and trained physiotherapist to massage the deformed legs. This method is good, both for children as well as adults, and can help in gradually changing the leg shape. The therapist will not only massage the legs thoroughly, but they will also help the child/adult to perform several leg stretching exercises that will have a small, but effective effect on the shape of the legs.
Strengthening abductor muscles
One of the main causes of the bow legs happens to be weak abductor muscles that support the pelvis and ensure proper movement of legs and pelvis. Weakness in these muscles may lead to stress on the legs which may become bow-shaped due to uneven pressure while walking or standing. So, if you or your child has weak abductor muscles, it is important that he or she works on strengthening these muscles. However, it has to be kept in mind that these exercises to straighten bow legs can work well only if the deformity is very slight. If the case is severe, you may have to consult your doctor immediately.
Stretches are one of the best exercises to straighten bow legs and can be practiced any time. Stretches can help improve the muscle core as well as correct muscular and skeletal alignments so that the body remains well supported. As a result, the legs can gradually gain back their normal shape.
Yoga does prove to be quite effective in solving a number of problems and can lead to better health and overall well-being. Likewise, yoga postures have proved to be quite useful in bow legs correction. Though performing yoga may seem to be a bit difficult if the problem is quite severe, yet you can make use of accessories like yoga straps that can help to overcome the obstacles that the shape of your legs may offer. Different yoga postures like forward bends and Gomukhasana may help restore the shape of your legs.
However, it is important that yoga is a long time practice and you need to be patient enough to see significant changes.
Much like stretching and yoga, pilates, too, plays an important role in strengthening the muscles around the leg region and also help in maintaining proper body alignment. Ballerina arms and roll up exercises have proved to be extremely good for bow legs correction.
Though practicing various bow legs correction exercise for adults is very important to cure the problem, yet that’s not all that you need to do. If you are overweight, you will have to work towards reducing your overall body weight. Excess weight can be harmful in such situations because your legs have to bear the weight of your entire body, and more the weight it has to bear, the more stressed it gets, often leading to bow legs even in adults. So, make sure that you control your weight and spare your legs from being overburdened.
Vitamin D dosage
Just as the intake of Vitamin D is important to prevent the bow legs in children, so is the inclusion of Vit D in the diet of an adult. Vit D will help make the bones become stronger and they will not tend to bend or become bow-shaped while supporting the body weight. This way bow legs can be prevented and cured.
Cleaning up your body is essential for effective bow legs correction. A lot of harmful chemicals may affect the density of the bones and make them weak from within. One such chemical is lead. Fluoride may also be a culprit. So, if you have to cure the bow legs, it is important that you clear the body of all harmful chemicals that may impede the improvement the other bow legs correction techniques may be making. Make sure that your body is free of any of these harmful chemicals. You can also check the plumbing of your house to ensure that no dangerous chemicals are getting into the water supply.
Surgery for bow legs
If none of the bow legs correction exercise for adults can bring about any significant change in the shape of the legs, then it would be best that you consult with the doctor and talk about a surgery that may cure the problem permanently. Though this method should be adopted only as a last resort or if the deformity is quite severe and impossible to cure with any of the techniques mentioned above, yet the solution is quick and permanent.
Surgeries for bow legs correction can cost several thousand dollars (including associated costs) and a very serious procedure. If no result has been obtained with the natural techniques, it is essential that you start preparing for the surgery.
Correction and fixation
Bow legs correction doesn’t end with the surgery itself. The recovery period is very important for effective results. The correction of the leg shape, in fact, starts after about 5-7 days of the surgery when the leg gradually starts changing its shape and becomes straight very slowly. This correction period lasts for some days and the degree of deformity gradually decreases till the desired result (as decided by the doctor and the patient) is achieved. At this stage, the correction process is terminated and the fixation phase begins.
Fixation is the most important part of the recovery period. To ensure that the operated legs stay in the desired shape, frames are added to the legs. These frames usually stay on for about a month, during which the bone union occurs. The proper union is important for the surgery to be successful. Though the patient has to take several precautions during this stage, yet they can start being on their legs again and make simple and effortless movements.
However, excess stress isn’t at all suggested and may cause discomfort in the operated areas and the surgery may even fail to be a 100% effective. So, activity, though allowed, is a bit restricted and at the end of the month, radiography tests are done to find out if the union has been successful. If everything is all okay, the bow legs correction surgery is considered successful and the frames are removed and the patient can resume normal activities, though nothing too heavy.
If you or your child has bow legs, start looking for the cause immediately. After you have eliminated the cause, you can start adopting bow legs correction methods or techniques that can help you. However, a prior consultation with your doctor would be recommended to prevent unnecessary injuries and accidents. Bow legs can be effectively and easily cured if the problem is diagnosed at the very early stages and immediate action is taken. So, be cautious from the very start and take necessary steps to prevent any severe deformity.