Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Infant Having Bowlegs

Bowlegs is a common abnormality pertaining to the lower parts of the legs around the knee and shin area which usually protrudes outwards instead of being straight when a baby is held with the toes pointing in front and the ankles touching each other. Almost every infant is bowlegged when he or she is born as a result of their positioning in the womb of the mother. This abnormality corrects itself as and when the child grows.

The child being bowlegged may not be visible immediately after the birth of the child but might only be apparent when he or she starts to stand up or walk. Bowlegs tends to start to straighten out after the age of one and by the time the child is three years of age the abnormality more or less corrects itself and the legs are apparently completely straight.

There have been tales told by grandmothers and nannies that if a child starts to stand or walk early then he or she can become bowlegged even if they are not at birth. This article gives an overview of whether a child can become bowlegged by standing too early.

Can An Infant Become Bowlegged By Standing Too Early?

Can An Infant Become Bowlegged By Standing Too Early?

Coming to whether or not an infant can get bowlegs by standing too early, scientific studies suggest that infants who stand or walk early get predisposed to a medical condition called Blount’s Disease which is a disorder of the legs in which a lot of pressure is put on the physis above the tibia resulting in the tibia of the child growing abnormally and the child becoming bowlegged. Going by this theory then, standing too early may lead to the infant becoming bowlegged. Studies also suggest that in the early months of a child’s life, the bones of the child are still forming and the joints are held together by hyaline cartilages. Thus putting weight on those tender cartilages by standing can lead to abnormalities such as being bowlegged.

Some pediatricians do not recommend holding the infant under the arms such that the body weight of the child is put on the legs like when he or she is standing as doing this may lead to certain musculoskeletal abnormalities like bowlegs.

In retrospect, there are also certain pediatricians who do not believe that if infants stand early on in their life, would cause them to be bowlegged. They believe that all children at birth are bowlegged and the reason for the legs becoming straight after a year or two is by putting weight on the legs or weightbearing. They believe that putting weight on the legs causes the legs to become strong and straight and thus bowlegs is something that is not related to an infant standing too early or walk too early in life. They are of the belief that bones are made stronger if weight is put on them.

In conclusion, while there is scientific evidence to suggest that standing early on in life can cause bowlegs in infants by way of medical conditions like Blount’s Disease but there are certain other factors as well that lead to the development of this condition such as a family history of the child. Certain certified pediatricians call this a myth and believe that putting weight on the legs early on makes the legs more strong and believe that standing or walking early is in no way harmful for the infant.

Thus, it is extremely difficult to judge whether standing early causes an infant to become bowlegged as there are cases where infants have become bowlegged by standing too early and there are also cases where there has been no effect on the legs of children who have started to stand and walk too early in their life.

Thus it is best to consult a pediatrician if your child has a habit of standing on legs rather than crawling.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 23, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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