Bowed Legs in Children

Bowed legs in toddlers are quite common and are part of normal development. Since all children are different, some legs appear only mildly curved while others will have a more significant amount of bowing. As children grow, their legs become straighter to knock knee slightly. By the age of two, most children’s legs are nearly straight, and by age three, almost all children have outgrown the bowing of their legs.

It is important to remember that all children are unique and grow at different rates so that some children won’t fit into the pattern described above. Some problems result in children’s legs being bowed; these include growth plate problems such as Blount’s disease, growth arrest, and metabolic issues such as rickets.

Most cases of bowing do not require treatment. Your physician will base his recommendations are a careful evaluation of your child, which may include x-rays. Treatment may consist of observation, bracing, or possibly surgery. Surgery for this problem may consist of growth modulation or osteotomies (cutting the bone) to correct the deformity.


Hammer, Claw, and Mallet Toes

Hammer, claw, and mallet toes are toes that bend into an odd position at one or more joints. This can be painful. They are most often caused by wearing tight shoes, which can cause the toe muscles to get out of balance.

  • A hammer toe bends down toward the floor at the middle toe joint. This causes the middle toe joint to rise up. It usually happens in the second toe.
  • Claw toe often affects the four smaller toes at the same time. The toes bend up at the joint where the toes and the foot meet. They bend down at the middle joints and at the joints nearest the tip of the toes. This causes the toes to curl down toward the floor.
  • A mallet toe bends down at the joint closest to the tip of the toe.

You may be able to fix your toe with home treatment. If you don't treat the problem right away, you are more likely to need surgery.


Rickets is a rare disease that results in soft, weak, and pliable bones. It is caused mainly by a lack of vitamin D.

Rickets most commonly affects children, who may have low vitamin D levels due to poor diet or a condition (such as celiac disease) that makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin D and calcium.

Rickets can lead to bone deformities such as bowlegs, knock-knees, an enlarged skull, and an abnormal curve in the spine. It also can cause weakness.

Limb Deformity Programs at Renown Children's Hospital

  • Bracing
  • Growth modulation
  • Limb lengthening
  • Closed reduction casting
  • Pecise nails (magnetic rod lenghthening)