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Does my Child have Blount’s Disease?

Does my Child have Blount’s Disease?

Blount’s disease is probably one of those diseases that you’ve never come across or you probably never heard of and you probably checking this out because you’ve been told that your child might be suffering from this disease.  Truly, Blount’s disease is not a common diagnosis; it is an inherited disorder of the shin bone, or the bone of the leg, that makes the lower legs to turn inward given the legs and appearance of a bow.  


Is Blount’s disease the same thing as bowlegs? 

No, it is not and here’s the tricky bit! Just like bowlegs you’re probably conversant with, Blount’s disease gives a child a bowlegged appearance, but its occurrence is not limited to children. Again, the bowlegged appearance in the regular “bowleggedness” that you’re probably used to tends to straighten as the child gets older, but the bow-legged deformity in a child with Blount’s disease is more likely to worsen with age. 


 The other subtle difference between the two is that Blount disease is not limited to childhood; in fact, there are two distinct types of Blount’s disease, namely the infantile and their adolescent. The infantile type occurs before age 3, while the adolescent variety occurs at around age 10. Again, unlike the regular bow leg, Blount’s disease causes pain and instability in their knees. 

What causes Blount’s disease? 

Unfortunately, the exact cause of Blount’s disease is unknown, but doctors have identified certain risk factors. Being an inherited disorder, a positive family history (meaning some family member suffers from the disease) increases your chances of suffering from Blount’s disease. Apart from a positive family history, rapid weight and obesity are also known risk factors. This is not surprising since the legs comprise weight-bearing bones—so, increase the weight rapidly and increase your risk! 

How is Blount’s disease diagnosed? 

A doctor needs to see you or your child to make a definitive diagnosis of Blount’s disease. More so, because the disease mimics the regular bow leg, but as stated above, the two are distinct entities. One thing to remember is the need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The reason is that, once diagnosed and treated early, your child can lead a normal life like any other child thereafter. 

A doctor (an orthopedic surgeon) needs to examine the child and take x-rays to reach a diagnosis. The best part is that this condition can be treated. 

How is Blount’s disease treated? 

The treatment for Blount’s disease is surgical. One of two surgical procedures is adopted to correct this deformity—an immediate corrective surgical procedure that involves cutting and re-alignment (osteotomy) or a second option that corrects the deformity over time. The treatment of Blount’s disease depends on many factors. Remember that adolescents suffering from Blount’s disease have accompanying pain and instability. They will benefit from treatment tailored towards their needs. Apart from the child’s age, the degree of deformity also affects the choice of treatment. 


Take-home message: Blount’s disease causes bowing of the legs but is not the same as the regular bowleggedness. It can be treated once you report early to the medical experts.