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Blount's Disease

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Updated March 24, 2013

Definition:

Blount's Disease is a condition that affects the growth of the leg bones. It is a specific problem of bone growth of the inner portion of the tibia (shin bone). The growth plate at the top of the tibia is affected in patients with Blount's Disease.

What happens to the growth plate in Blount's Disease?
In patients with Blount's Disease an area of the growth plate becomes disrupted and fails to grow normally. In about 60% of cases this condition affects both legs. The cause of Blount's disease is thought to be a repetitive injury to the growing bone. The diagnosis is usually made around 3 years of age, and it is much more commonly seen in overweight children.

Because of the growth plate disruption, the tibia grows in an asymmetrical manner, and causes the characteristic bowlegged deformity.

Are all bow-legs in children abnormal?
No! Bow-legs are a normal part of the growth and development in children. A bow leg appearance is most common during the second year, and then begins to resolve. Blount's Disease is a specific problem of the growth plate, not simply a more severe bow-legged appearance.

What is the treatment of Blount's Disease?
Treatment depends on the age of the patient and the severity of the condition. In younger children, bracing to relieve stress on the damaged growth plate may be sufficient. In older children, corrective surgery may be considered.

Sources:

Greene, WB "Infantile Tibia Vara J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1993;75:130-143.

Also Known As: Tibia Vara, Bowlegged
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