What is Genu varum?
Genu varum is a condition more commonly referred to as “bowleggedness.” Healthline explains that “Bowleggedness is a condition in which a person’s legs appear bowed out, meaning their knees stay wide apart even when their ankles are together.”
Genu varum can be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition, such as rickets, and it can also lead to a person developing painful symptoms of arthritis in their knees or hips. Sometimes treatment for this condition involves surgery or casts to correct bone malformations, however, there is another option: physical therapy.
Causes of Genu varum
Children oftentimes are born with this condition from their legs being cramped in the womb, and overtime it typically corrects itself as they learn to stand, walk, and straighten their legs out. Other causes include:
- Bone breaks/fractures that healed improperly
- Bone dysplasia
- Fluoride or lead poisoning
- Blount’s disease (the shin develops abnormally and curves below the knees)
- Paget’s disease (metabolic disease affecting the way bones break down)
It’s pretty easy to recognize bowlegs — when a person stands up straight, their knees won’t touch each other. Nevertheless, it’s still a good choice to contact a Modesto therapist for an evaluation to be sure, and see what treatment options are available!
How can physical therapy help Genu varum?
Most of the time Genu varum resolves itself as a person ages, however, if this condition persists, a physical therapist may need to be involved for management.
At the first appointment, a visual analysis will be performed. Typically, visual observation is the first way a therapist diagnoses bowlegs. A Biosport Physical Therapy therapist will view the way a child or adult walks, perform some tests if necessary, and take measurements of the distance between the knees.
In some pediatric cases, a physical therapist may have a child learn to use a walker, crutches, or orthotics as the condition corrects itself. Physical therapists are experts in balance and gait correction, and they will adjust treatment as necessary as alignment and walking pattern changes.
If your child is young, a therapist can teach you how to work with them at home to further develop their strength as well. They may encourage you to help your child walk up and down steps or do a range of motion exercises when their brace or orthotics are removed.
A Biosport Physical Therapy physical therapist may also prescribe strengthening and stretching exercises to address these muscle imbalances and improve natural gait.
Contact our clinic
If you or your child have bowlegs, know that there is a way to manage this condition! Physical therapists are experts in movement and helping individuals to improve their balance and gait. Contact our clinic in Modesto today to learn more about our therapy options for genu varum.