Varus deformity (bow legs): symptoms, diagnostics, treatment

Straight legs are the dream of every girl and the standard for men. Unfortunately, nature doesn’t give beauty to everyone; splay knees are a quite common defect. A lot of people live with this successfully, they don’t worry and don’t consider this a disadvantage. Self-confidence is a great quality. But the doctors claim that varus deformity (bow legs) can strike a blow to the health of the whole organism, not just one’s self-esteem.

The modern clinic of cosmetic orthopedics and traumatology Ladisten has successfully coped with genu varum deformity by treating patients from 36 countries all over the world, and continues to help people.

Varus deformity (the pathology of bow legs): general information

If a person is standing straight, normally both legs should touch each other. There are three main points: knees, feet and lower legs. They should close up forming three spaces. This situation is considered normal. If the feet touch each other and the knees not, we are talking about genu varum. Such position of the legs is referred to as splay knees. Sometimes, the pathology is slightly noticeable as the angle of deflection is small. This does not cause aesthetic problems but can affect health.

Causes of the pathology

Varus deformity (the pathology of bow legs) is a consequence of such factors:

  • genetic predisposition. In some cases, splay knees are given to a person from his or her parents;
  • early walking. Parents are always happy if the child begins to walk early. Unfortunately, this can lead to defects because the musculoskeletal system is still weak, it doesn’t bear the load and the knee joints are deformed;
  • excess weight. All the same load on the joints;
  • injuries and diseases of the spine.


The symptoms of varus deformity The first sign of genu varum is that the knees go apart from each other, turning to the sides. If the deflection angle is large, varus deformity (the pathology of bow legs) has a number of consequences and affects health:

  • leg pains appear;
  • it’s hard for a person to walk. The greater the deflection, the more difficult it is to move;
  • legs swell regularly;
  • there is a fault in posture, scoliosis occurs.

As a rule, the defect of bow legs manifests itself before the age of 4 years. Up to that moment, it is considered to be normal as the skeleton of the child continues to develop and the deformity can disappear with time. It is worth paying attention if:

  • the child began to walk quickly;
  • he or she gets tired a few minutes after movement;
  • the child goes from leg to foot, like a bear cub;
  • the knees go apart from each other and turn to the sides, which is visible visually.

So far, the situation requires only observation and prevention. Correction surgery is not prescribed for children under 7 years of age if the pathology is not congenital.

How to identify it

Diagnostics of varus deformity

The first diagnostics take place during a personal visit to the orthopedist. The signs of genu varum are visible to the naked eye, it is enough to bring your legs together and stand straight. But the pathology may turn out to be false, so an X-ray is done, then the degree of deflection and the internal position of the bones are assessed. Additionally, a footprint is made and, using special calculations, the degree of load on the joints and the possibility of further development of the defect are determined. Only after a full examination the doctor can confirm the diagnosis of varus deformity (bow legs).

Is it possible to live with it?

As with any pathology, you can live with splay knees

If the degree of deflection is insignificant, it causes only psychological discomfort and may not show any consequences for life. Only with age a person notices changes. It becomes difficult to walk, arthrosis develops.

What the future holds

Significant degree of varus deformity (bow legs) is a real problem. Leaving aside the moments of beauty and psychology, genu varum reduces physical ability, causes regular fatigue and influences the entire musculoskeletal system, affecting the ligaments and muscles. They weaken and stretch – as a result, there is no passion in one’s life anymore.

Preventive measures

Exercise therapy, special training complex

Can help to combat varus deformity on early stages

Orthopedic shoes

Shoes that cover not only the foot, but also the lower legs. In practice, they have several disadvantages in terms of convenience and aesthetics.

Special correction devices

This method is in fact a way of conservative treatment.


An additional measure to prevent the development of varus deformity in toddlers and young children. If the child began to walk early, they support his or her musculoskeletal system, distributing the load on the joints.


Make an appointment to get a consultation right now!


Our doctors use unique methods of treatment introduced by Veklich V.V.

Founder/Chief surgeon

Veklich Vitaliy Viktorovich

The founder of “Ladisten” medical center of orthopedics and traumatology Veklich Vitaliy Viktorovich is a surgeon in the field of orthopedics and traumatology for children and adults who has been practicing for more than 35 years. Author of the modified external fixation devices – the Veklich devices.

Work experience: 40 years

Oleg Medvedev

Doctor of Medicine, anesthesiologist

Work experience: 27 years
Head doctor, orthopedic and traumatic surgeon

Veklich Viktoria

Head doctor of the Ladisten Clinic Medical Center, a professional certified surgeon in the field of pediatric and adult orthopedics and traumatology.

Work experience: 15 years


If there is a suspicion that varus deformity shows itself (even with the knees slightly turned to the sides), you should consult a doctor. The diagnosis of varus deformity of the legs (O-shaped deformity) raises the question of surgical operation. How is the preparation carried out:

  1. Step one. Booking an appointment to get a consultation. This can be done by phone or online.
  2. Step two. X-ray study and additional examinations. Diagnosis according to the results.

The degree of pathology is determined, the possibility of surgical treatment is specified and an individual treatment plan is prepared.


The post-operative period takes 2,5 – 3 months

Within 3 weeks after the operation, the patient begins to walk more and more intensively, the fixation device acquires a stable position. Crutches and walkers are no longer needed. After 2.5-3 months, the bones are grown completely. Varus deformity (the pathology of bow legs) completely disappears. Doctors remove the device, at the place of incisions there are minimal scars – up to 5 mm.


Our patients have become healthy, beautiful and full of energy with Ladisten Clinic


Vitaliy Viktorovich, I want to express an infinity of “thank yous” to you! I would like to thank you as a doctor - for your gifted hands, for your experience, for an excellent result. I also want to thank you as a person - for kindness, for understanding, for responsiveness, for sincerity, for uniqueness... I will never forget you and will always be grateful to you. Thanks to the best doctor, to the best team, to the best clinic!