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Blount's disease, also known as tibia vara, is a growth disorder of the tibia (shin bone) that causes the lower leg to angle inward, resembling a bowleg.
Blount's disease occurs in young children and adolescents. The cause is unknown but is thought to be due to the effects of weight on the growth plate. The inner part of the tibia, just below the knee, fails to develop normally, causing angulation of the bone. Unlike bowlegs, which tend to straighten as the child develops, Blount's disease is progressive and the condition worsens. It can cause severe bowing of the legs and can affect one or both legs.
This condition is more common among children of African ancestry. It is also associated with obesity, short stature, and early walking. There does not appear to be an obvious genetic factor.
Clinically Relevant Anatomy
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Mechanism of Injury / Pathological Process
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Management / Interventions
Children who develop severe bowing before the age of 3 may be treated with bracing. However, bracing may fail, or bowing may not be detected until the child is older. In some cases, surgery may be performed. Surgery may involve cutting the shin bone (tibia) to realign it, and sometimes lengthen it as well.
Other times, the growth of just the outer half of the tibia can be surgically restricted to allow the child’s natural growth to reverse the bowing process. This second, much smaller surgery is most effective in children with less severe bowing and significant growth remaining.
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