Definition of Blount’s disease
Blount’s disease is a growth disorder of the shin bone (tibia) in which the lower leg turns inward, resembling a bowleg.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
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 shin bone, just below the knee, fails to develop normally.
One or both of the lower legs turn inward. This is called “bowing.” It may:
Signs and tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. This will show that the lower legs turn inward. An x-ray of the knee and the lower leg confirms the diagnosis.
Braces are used to treat children who develop severe bowing before the age of 3. If braces do not work, or if the problem is not diagnosed until the child is older, surgery is usually required. Surgery may involve cutting the shin bone to place it in the proper position, and sometimes it as well.
If the leg can be placed into the proper position, the outlook is good. The leg should work properly and look normal.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/12/2010