Bowlegs and knock-knees
Do your baby’s legs curve or bow outward, not touching at the knees when the feet are placed together? It’s actually normal for the first couple of years, so no need to panic. Once your baby starts to walk, muscles will strengthen, his legs will start to straighten and they should be fairly straight by the age of two and a half.
After age three or four it’s possible that, when standing, the knees may press together but the ankles will not touch. This is called knock-knees. Overweight children are most likely to develop knock-knees because their developing bones and joints have trouble supporting their weight. This condition usually goes away once the structure of the knee matures, some time between the ages of five and seven.
Again, both bowlegs and knock-knees usually fall within the normal range of development and correct themselves over time. Occasionally, however, they don’t and the condition may be caused by a serious problem, such as an infection, a tumor, Blount’s disease (a disorder involving the shinbone), or Rickets (caused by a vitamin D deficiency). Talk with your child’s health care provider if:
• the curvature of the leg is extreme or present in only one leg
• bowlegs worsens after age two
• bowlegs still exist after age four
• knock-knees still exist after age seven
• your child is in pain or the condition interferes with normal physical activity
Although these conditions are fairly normal and usually correct themselves, it’s important to have your child’s health care provider monitor his progress. Make sure to keep all of your child’s appointments.