Genu varum is a relatively common finding in children. Physiologic bowing, which is seen most often, has a well-documented favorable natural history. Idiopathic tibia vara is the most common of the pathologic conditions that are associated with bowed legs; treatment strategies vary with the patient's age and the stage of disease and deformity. Genu varum may also accompany systemic conditions, such as achondroplasia, vitamin D-resistant rickets, renal osteodystrophy, and osteogenesis imperfecta—all of which can result in short stature. Indications for intervention are not always well defined. A rare disorder, focal fibrocartilaginous dysplasia, usually requires no treatment. Standing radiographs of the entire lower limbs are necessary for surgical planning, as the deformity can sometimes affect the distal femur rather than the proximal tibia. Restoration of the mechanical axis of the limb is the principal goal of treatment; the particular type of internal fixation is of secondary importance.
Dr. Brooks is a Resident in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Dr. Gross is Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina.
Reprint requests: Dr. Gross, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425.