Bow Leg and Knock Knee Correction Surgery

Bowlegs is a condition in which your legs appear bowed-out, meaning your knees stay wide apart even when your ankles are together.

Generally, the bone curvatures in the legs occur in two different forms. These are “X” shaped and “O” shaped forms of legs that are called knock knees and bow legs among the people.

Knock kneed / bow legged adults have options available to treat this problem such as exercises, braces, and specially designed inverted shoes. However, most adults with this problem turn to surgical procedures to correct it.

Genu varum, commonly known as bow leggedness, usually occurs during childhood development. It is caused by abnormal bone development that occurs due to two factors:

Blount’s disease – a growth disorder of the tibia which can be the consequence of an incorrectly healed fracture.
Rickets – a condition that causes softening and weakness in the bone due to vitamin D or calcium deficiency.

Most children grow out of their bowed legs without the need for braces or surgical intervention when these deficiencies are corrected early.

Which Situations Require Surgical Intervention?

In the treatment of bone curvatures in the legs, the correction of load-bearing axis is essential. Valgus and varus deformities are very important issues from a physical point of view. But the main problem of these curvatures is the changes in the hip, knee and ankle joints. That’s precisely the reason why leg deformity surgeries are not done with physical anxiety. If the load-bearing axin of the body is not treated, the patient may have walking problems, or arthritis and joint disorders at an early age . As these diseases require much more serious operations, treatment should be performed as soon as possible.

In the case of leg curvature, firstly it should be applied non-surgical treatment. Sometimes, patients get very good results from medical treatment.

Knock knee / bow leg surgery is only an option if other alternatives don’t work. Usually other knock knee / bow leg correction methods will help if the deformity is a mild case. However, if too severe alternative treatments will only help improve the appearance of this lower leg deformity not correct them. Surgical intervention is necessary in cases where medicine doesn’t work. Legs correction surgery (correction of bow legs) is performed on both legs at the same time and consists of three stages: Surgery, Correction stage and Fixation stage.
In order for children to be able to perform surgical intervention, it must be expected when growth plates are closed. Curvature of legs can be corrected by surgical methods approximately from 16 to 60 years old. E.g, tissue degeneration may occur due to cartilages in a patient who had a traffic accident in the past but could not be treated. Or damage to the growth cartilage may occur due to fractures in childhood. When the cartilage is damaged, the bone continues its growth curve. This is precisely why doctors wait for the end of the growth period, 14-15 years old for females and 17-18 years old for males.

How Does Bone Correction Surgery Work?

In the past, large cuts were made for bone curvature in the legs. Bone correction is a surgery to correct curve bones using metal screws, pins, rods, or plates to hold the bone in place. Nowadays, there are various methods used for these surgeries and can be done much more successful operations. In acute (severe) correction, a monolateral or single-lane fixator is used and the patient’s legs can be corrected immediately after the operation. If the correction is gradual, a circular fixator (also called the Ilazarov) is used. This fixator is also used when additional procedures are done simultaneously to correct other deformities such as limb length discrepancy. In most cases, doctors do gradual correction with frames that allow for fine-tuning. If the deformity correction is not absolutely perfect on x-ray, they can continue to correct it until it is. After the bones fully heal, doctors may remove external fixators. Bone healing usually lasts about 3-5 months. This surgery caused by scar formation (average length about 2-3 cm) after removing the fixator. Patients may return to normal daily life in 2-3 days after removal of external fixators.

During the first week or two after the surgery you will most likely feel some discomfort, swelling, and/or pain. This is normal but if you feel that your pain or discomfort is too much for you to handle you should contact your doctor immediately.

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