Treating Bowleggedness with an Osteotomy

Treating Bowleggedness with an Osteotomy

The term bowlegs describes a condition in which someone’s legs appear to bend outward — or the knees don’t touch — when the ankles are together. 

People of all ages can have bowlegs, but it’s common to see this in infants because of their cramped position inside the womb. However, this alignment issue often corrects itself once they start to stand and walk. But, when their legs still appear bowed after 24 months, or they seem to worsen, it’s time to speak with an expert.

Other causes of bowlegs include:

Whether you have a child with bowlegs or experience the condition yourself in adulthood, Dr. Eric E. Johnson can help. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore this problem and how an osteotomy can restore alignment.

The problem with bowlegs

Bowlegs can vary in severity, but they all share the same issue: incorrect leg alignment that runs from the hip to the ankle.

When a leg is properly aligned, you can draw a straight imaginary line from the ball of the hip joint through the center of the knee to the center of the ankle. This alignment plays a crucial role in how each joint bears weight when you move, especially the knee. It’s known as the mechanical axis.

Bowlegs disrupt this balance because the knees don’t line up along this imaginary line. Instead, their bowed appearance puts added strain on their knees, leading to pain, instability, increased deformity, and arthritis.

And you don’t need to have severe alignment issues to experience these issues — even a few millimeters of misalignment can lead to problems down the road.

Signs of bowlegs

In many cases, the most obvious symptom of bowlegs is visual. Mainly, the knees don’t touch when standing with feet and ankles together. This appearance can make some people sensitive or embarrassed about how their legs look.

Other signs of the condition include:

Fortunately, Dr. Johnson can correct these issues by performing an osteotomy that realigns the leg bones and restores function and structure to the knee.

How osteotomy treats bowlegs

Dr. Johnson often uses different types of osteotomy procedures to correct bowlegs, depending on the type and severity of your deformity. 

During an osteotomy, Dr. Johnson cuts and reshapes bones in the leg to restore alignment. Then, he stabilizes the bones with internal or external fixation, like plates, screws, nails, or circular frames.

In most cases, Dr. Johnson can correct bowlegs by treating the tibia — or shin bone — alone. However, some treatments require an osteotomy in both the tibia and the femur (thighbone). If your bowlegs led to different leg lengths, Dr. Johnson can correct this issue during your surgery as well.

Osteotomy procedures for bowlegs may seem daunting, but they’re often minimally invasive, internal fixation devices can be quite small, and they come with relatively quick recovery times. In fact, you can usually start bearing some weight immediately after your procedure.

Dr. Johnson can provide personalized recommendations on the best osteotomy methods for you based on your bowleg deformity. Regardless, you can expect your procedure to deliver lasting improvements, including less pain, better leg mechanics, and easier walking. Plus, it can help you avoid severe knee damage, which could require a total knee replacement in the future.

Do you have bowlegs? Schedule a consultation with Eric E. Johnson, MD, in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, to learn more about your treatment options today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Running Tips to Prevent Severe Foot Injuries

Do you love to pound the pavement but you worry about injury? Physical activity can increase your chances of a problem, whether you’re a pro athlete or a weekend warrior. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid severe foot injury.

How Tertiary Reconstruction Can Help Your Deformity

The term “tertiary reconstruction” can sound confusing, but it simply involves fixing — or reconstructing — severe damage to the musculoskeletal system. If you have a deformity or injury that didn’t heal properly, here’s how this procedure can help.

 5 Encouraging Facts About Hip Dysplasia

Whether you learn your child has hip dysplasia or you receive a diagnosis yourself, the news can feel alarming. Fortunately, there are solutions for this condition, no matter how severe your symptoms. Read on to learn more.

How to Know if You Have a Hairline Fracture

It’s hard to miss a broken bone when you experience a traumatic event, like a fall. But what if the cause is less obvious? Here are a few signs your pain could be the result of a hairline fracture and when to seek expert care.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Polytrauma?

The human body is strong and resilient, but it can only handle so much force. More often than not, when under significant strain, it causes more than one injury at the same time. These cases are known as polytraumas and require expert care.