The characteristic of bow-leggedness is when both knees appear to remain wide apart even when the feet are together while standing. According to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, this condition is commonly associated with knee osteoarthritis, which is a chronic condition caused by degeneration of the cartilage.
The cartilage cushions the impact on walking and produces a natural lubricant to improve the gliding of joints. Loss of cartilage can lead to inflammation and pain.
The inner aspect of the knee tends to degenerate faster because weight distribution is not spread evenly on the joint. Normal human knees tend to bear more body weight on the inner aspect.
When the cartilage erodes over time, the inner part of the knee will “sink” in and the thighbone will rub on the shinbone. Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon reports that this bowing of the knee puts more strain on the outer knee ligament, increasing the likelihood of knee sprains and prolonged discomfort.
Bowing of the knee puts more strain on the outer knee ligament, increasing the likelihood of knee sprains and a spreading of the discomfort. If left untreated, the loss of cartilage will lead to bone erosion, exacerbating the deformity.
The causes of knee osteoarthritis include a combination of environmental and genetics factors. In most cases, it progresses slowly over time with no clear predisposing factor.
Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon offers these tips for preventing it:
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including low-impact exercises like swimming and brisk walking. Strength training increases muscle tone and support for the knee.
- Avoiding stair climbing and daily activities including housework that requires prolonged and frequent knee-bending or squatting for those with established knee osteoarthritis.
- Maintaining joint and ligament flexibility with yoga, which can help to reduce loading on the knees and hips.
- Keeping excess weight off.
- Eating a healthy balanced diet. Short-term supplements may reduce knee inflammation for those with knee pain but there is no evidence of any long-term benefit.
- Maintaining healthy bone mass with daily supplements of vitamin D and calcium for post-menopausal women and men over the age of 75.
There are various treatments available for knee osteoarthritis. The management will have to be tailored by your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon according to the severity of the underlying condition and lifestyle demands.
Mild osteoarthritis with no bowing of the leg can be managed with physiotherapy to improve flexibility and muscle strength. Severe bowing with shortening of the knee will require knee replacement surgery to restore the alignment and leg length.
An assessment by New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer is recommended if symptoms do not improve through conservative treatment. If you are experiencing any type of pain in your knees, call our office today to schedule a consultation.