Bow leg exercise is perhaps the important option to correct genu varum. Genu varum, which is also commonly called bow leg, in which our leg curves outward, bow outward. When it curves inwards it is termed a knock knee. Most bow leg cases develop since birth, but there are cases that are secondary to knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Fortunately, we can manage it with some simple stretching and strengthening exercises. Whatever exercises we are going to learn in this article will be most beneficial to one who has had this disability since childhood. Others can also perform these exercises at least to prevent further progression of genu valgum. If you have a complaint about bow leg, then read this article till the end.
Table Of Contents
- How do you Fix Bow Legs?
- Bow leg exercise
- Stretching exercises for genu varum
- Hamstring stretching in long sitting for genu varum
- Adductor stretching in long sitting
- Adductor stretching with feet together (1)
- Adductor stretching with feet together (2)
- Adductor stretching in figure of 4 position
- Hamstring stretching in figure of 4 position
- Hamstring physiotherapy stretching in long sitting for genu varum
- Hamstring stretching in standing to straighten bow leg
- Bow leg strengthening exercise
- Strengthening exercises in sidelying for curved leg
- Strengthening exercises in squatting for crooked leg
- Lunge exercise for bow leg
How do you Fix Bow Legs?
Genu varum can be corrected either by non-surgical or surgical techniques. Non-surgical therapies include stretching, elastic band exercise, sling exercise, walking traction, muscle resistance exercise, chiropractic, and wearing corrective apparatus. Stretching and elastic band exercise among the non-surgical treatments are interventions that are easy to be accessed1.
Let me tell you an interesting thing related to bow legs, every one of us has bow legs in childhood for two years. This is because when the baby is in the womb, the position of the legs of the fetus is in such a way that the hip is flexed, remains abducted, externally rotated, and the knee flexed in our lower leg2. And the leg remains internally rotated.
So, due to this fetus position during pregnancy, when the child is born, the leg remains bow during infancy & childhood. As the child becomes one and a half or two years old, legs gradually become straight. But, when the bow leg does not get better with time and age, it is a matter of concern, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Bow leg exercise
There are two groups of exercises and we will couple all the exercises under these two subheadings. These two groups of exercises are stretching and strengthening exercises.
Stretching exercises for genu varum
So first we start with stretching exercises. We will focus on stretching two muscles to correct the genu varum. One is the hamstring muscle, which lies on the back of the thigh, then its adductor muscle is located on the inner side of the thigh. So first we will do stretching of the hamstring muscle.
Hamstring stretching in long sitting for genu varum
This stretching exercise is performed in a long sitting position. What we will do is that we will bend one knee as in the figure and the other knee will be straight and then we will sit upright. Then the foot and the toes, we will pull it towards us like this. And if possible, you sit upright and bend a little towards the front, so that you will feel a good stretching on the back thigh.
You will hold this position for at least one minute, then come to relax. Okay, you will repeat this again. You will sit upright like this, you will bend your ankle in this way and then you will hold this position. You can bend slightly to the front so that you feel a good stretching.
In this way, hold it for a minute and in a single session repeat it twice. In the same way, you can repeat in another leg also.
Okay, you can repeat the same process three times in the other leg as well.
Adductor stretching in long sitting
Our next bow leg exercise is the stretching of hip adductor. It is also done in the same position, you will sit in a long sitting position, one of the knees will remain bent and after that, you will bend your ankle forward, away from the body in this way.
See, after bending your ankle like this, you will hold it for a minute and then come to relax. Pay attention to my toes, ‘I am bending it forward like this.In this way, you have to do it at least thrice in a session and every time you have to hold it for one minute. So there is a good stretching in the adductor muscles, which is the muscle on the inside of our thigh.
Adductor stretching with feet together (1)
Then there is the third stretching, which is also the adductor stretching, but slightly different. You have to sit and join both your feet, and sole as shown in the figure. After that, you will bend forward like this. Try to take your thigh as low as possible, keep the knees down and hold it for one minute, this position, okay!
You will also hold this position for one minute. Then you will come to a relaxed position. Then similarly repeat it for a minimum of twice or thrice in a session. Okay!
Adductor stretching with feet together (2)
The next exercise is also the stretching exercise adductor muscles. But if we change it a little bit, then it will be modified further. So, you will once again sit with both of your feet together and this time you will not bend towards the front, you will bend obliquely.
Observe the figure that my shoulder, I am bending slightly towards the opposite side knee. Hold this position for one minute.
What will happen with this, your adductor muscles on this side will be stretched. Then in the same way you will bend to this side. Okay! do it again, do it 3 times in a session, that is, on one side, thrice on this side and then thrice on this side and every time you have to hold this position for 1 minute.
Adductor stretching in figure of 4 position
Then the next bow leg exercise is also an adductor stretching exercise. For that, you have to keep your knee in a figure of 4 positions, that is, one knee will remain upright and the other knee you will put on it in this way. OK! This figure becomes a figure of 4 positions.
After that, you will bend one shoulder in the direction of the opposite side knee, keep your hand backwards, OK!
Hold this position for one minute and repeat it three times in one session. Okay! You will feel a good stretch here and then in the same way you repeat on the other side as well.
In this way, you keep it in the figure of four and then you put your hand behind and you will bend this shoulder in this direction, hold for a minute and you do it at least twice or thrice in a session.
Hamstring stretching in figure of 4 position
The next stretching exercise is also hamstring stretching but in the same position, you have to do the figure of 4 positions. In this position grab your knee with your hand and then you pull it towards your chest.Hold it for a minute and then relax.
Then do the same process in the other leg, in the same way, hold it for one minute and repeat it at least three times in a session.
Hamstring physiotherapy stretching in long sitting for genu varum
Then hamstring exercises can be done in another way. Sit in a long sitting position with both of your legs in a straight position. And then bend your trunk towards the front, you will feel the stretching of the hamstring in both limbs simultaneously, you will feel stretching on the back of the thigh.
Hold it for a minute and then come to relax. Again you lean towards the front, hold it for one minute, then relax. You should do this three times in one session.
Hamstring stretching in standing to straighten bow leg
You can also do hamstring exercises in standing. It is very easy, simply place a chair in the front and then if you want to do the stretching of the hamstring of the left leg, then put it on the chair.
Now, place your hand backwards and bend in this way towards the front.You go to the point where you will feel stretching. Then hold this position for at least one minute, then relax.Then you repeat it on the other leg. Look, this way repeat in the other leg, then you come back.
In the same way, you should do this exercise at least three times at a time.
Bow leg strengthening exercise
So, whatever exercise we are going to do, we will do with the help of the resistance band. This is a rubber band that gives resistance, it is from Dyna company.
Strengthening exercises in sidelying for curved leg
So, it is very easy to exercise. For this, you will first tie it to both your legs in this way. This way you will tie both thighs. See this is how I tied it. After tying, you will sleep on the side-lying, and then, it should have been a little tighter, it is loose.
Now, keep both your feet together in a side-lying position and then lift your knee as demonstrated in the figure. Hold this position for 5 seconds, the best way to count 1 2 3 4 5. This way you do it at least 15 to 20 times at a time.
Then you have to do the other leg in the same way. Lie down this way, and then you will do it in the other leg also. Look, this is a very good exercise, a strengthening exercise. Now let’s move to another exercise.
Strengthening exercises in squatting for crooked leg
For the next exercise, you will stand and on your thigh tie the resistance band in this way, and then after that, let me show you in the side view, you stood this way. After that, you will move your hips backwards like this and then you will bend like this in the knees. Okay!
Then come to a straight position, then again bend on your knees like this again you will be straight. In this way, you do it at least 10 to 15 times in a single session. If you have a bow leg, then you will feel the stretch here. An excellent exercise for bow legs.
Lunge exercise for bow leg
Our final genu varum exercise is the lunge exercise1. Then in the same position place one leg in the front and keep the second leg behind like this. Okay! You should note that my heel and foot are like this and the front leg remains something like this. Then I’ll bend on both my knee and will lower myself as low as possible. Hold this for 5 seconds, count 1 2 3 4 5 okay!
Similarly, you will do the same thing in the other leg, you will put this leg now in front and the other leg will be behind you and then you will do this. We call it lunge exercise. You should also do this at least 10 to 15 times 20 times in a session.
Keep Reading: 4 Exercises for Fixing Forward Head Posture Permanently
Sunit. S. Ekka
Dr Sunit Sanjay Ekka is a physiotherapist in practice for the last 15 years. He has done his BPT from one of the premium Central Government physiotherapy colleges, ie, SVNIRTAR. The patient is his best teacher and whatever he gets to learn he loves to share it on his Youtube channel and blog.
1 ↑ Park SR, Ro HL, , Namkoong S. The Effect of Stretching and Elastic Band Exercises Knee Space Distance and Plantar Pressure Distribution during Walking in Young Individuals with Genu Varum. KSPM 2017;12:83-91. visit
Lie on your side, legs overlapping and both knees bent 90 degrees. Your body should be in a straight line from head to knee with legs bent perpendicular to the back. Keeping your knees together, raise the side of your upper leg above the ceiling, and then slowly lower it back down. Repeat 10 times for each leg.Can bow legs be corrected with exercise? ›
The belief that bowlegs can be corrected without surgery is a fallacy. Varus deformity around the knee is a structural deviation from normal bone alignment. Exercise, stretching, strengthening, physical therapy, and vitamins will make your muscles and bones stronger but will not change the shape of the bones.Should bow legs be corrected in adults? ›
Bowlegs in adults is an independent risk factor for knee joint degeneration and pain. Multiple studies have shown that correction of bowlegs prior to the onset of end stage arthritis can delay or prevent the need for total knee replacement.How do you walk with bow legs? ›
HOW TO WALK PROPERLY WITH BOW LEGS - YouTubeWhat yoga is good for bow legs? ›
Yoga helps promote overall flexibility and alignment, positions like the forward bend, Warrior poses and Cow Face are beneficial for bow leg correction. You may want to use a yoga strap to bind the legs together. Pilates can also help with strengthening, especially muscles that affect the pelvis and back.How do I strengthen my varus knee? ›
Many standard yoga poses have been shown to be beneficial to the participants in the study. Squats, which are among the most popular exercises for leg muscle therapy, have also been shown to be beneficial for varus knee.How is genu varum treated in adults? ›
In older patients, the only treatment is surgery. After surgery, patients wear braces or casts until the legs heal. Physiotherapy is usually prescribed to regain full range of motion and strength in the legs.Can bow legs cause knee problems? ›
If left untreated, people who are bowlegged may experience pain, increased deformity, knee instability and progressive knee degeneration (arthritis). Correction of the deformity leads to improved knee mechanics, better walking, less pain, and prevents the rapid progression of damage to the knee.What exercises can I do to get bow legs? ›
Bowed Legs Stretches & Exercises - YouTubeHow long does it take to correct bow legs? ›
Bow legs are common in infants and toddlers. The condition is rarely serious. Babies born bow legged usually grow out of the condition by the time they turn 18 months old.
Genua vara or bow legs is a deviation of the knees from a vertical axis which goes through the hip joint, knee joint and ankle joint on the anterior side. This alignment is caused by tight hip and weak abductors.Is Bow Leg surgery Painful? ›
Recovery And Healing
Most people are able to walk without crutches and have little or no pain. Some patients with bowlegs report pain in the knee that typically disappears after surgery. As a bonus, patients often gain about one-half an inch in height.
Healing generally takes about two months; scarring is minimal and often disappears over time. Most people are able to be active with crutches throughout the healing phase. The procedure is a short one – approximately one hour, with a one-night hospital stay.Can bow legs get worse with age? ›
If your child has bowlegs along with any of the following symptoms, they may have a more serious condition: bowlegs that continue to get worse after the age of 2. asymmetric appearance of the bowing. limp when walking.How do you massage bow legs? ›
Leg Massage - Baby Development - YouTubeHow should bow legged people sleep? ›
WRONG SLEEPING POSTURE TO CORRECT BOW LEGS? - YouTubeDoes knee replacement help bow legs? ›
As time passes, your legs bowing in or out can worsen. This can be a significant sign that a knee replacement is needed, as this form of bow-leggedness will most likely keep worsening. Long-Term Solution for Your Knee Pain: The most common types of knee replacements can last for many years.How do you hide bow legs in jeans? ›
Legi is a cosmetic support that corrects and helps to disguise the appearance of bow-leggedness under tight clothes. Now you can wear skinny jeans, active wear, leggings or even knee high boots!Is Bow legs allowed in army? ›
Bow legs, flat foot and pigeon chest etc are not allowed in the armed forces. Medical and physical fitness are a must.What is the bow pose in yoga? ›
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) is an intermediate yoga pose similar to a backbend. It's one of the 12 basic Hatha Yoga poses. By lifting your torso up and backward, the chest is opened and the back is deeply stretched. This pose is a great way to deeply stretch the back after a long day of hunching over.
Exercise. For most people with genu valgum, exercise can help realign and stabilize their knees. Your doctor or physical therapist can evaluate your gait and suggest exercises designed to strengthen your leg, hip, and thigh muscles. Specific stretches may also be useful in relieving symptoms.Can a knee replacement correct a varus deformity? ›
In the presence of severe deformity, more aggressive procedure such as tibial reduction osteotomy or sliding medial epicondyle osteotomy can be performed. In literature, good outcomes are reported for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in varus deformity.How do you do the varus stress test? ›
Varus Stress Test of the Knee Lateral Collateral Ligament - YouTubeWhat causes bow legs in older adults? ›
What is bowleg? Bowleg is an orthopedic condition affecting the legs in which a person's knees stay widely apart even when their ankles are together, giving the legs a bowed look. In many cases, this is due to abnormal bone development, illness, or growth plate deformities.Is genu varum normal? ›
Genu varum is a normal condition in children up to 18 months of age. Because of the way their bodies are positioned in the uterus, almost all babies are born bowlegged. Once they begin to walk and their legs start to bear weight, their legs usually straighten out.What disease causes bow legged? ›
Rickets. Rickets is a bone disease in children that causes bowed legs and other bone deformities. Children with rickets do not get enough calcium, phosphorus, or Vitamin D—all of which are important for healthy growing bones.Do bow legs cause arthritis? ›
Bow legs (also known as "genu varum") occur when a person's legs bend outward and don't touch at the knees, even if their feet and ankles remain together. If left undiagnosed in childhood, bow legs can lead to arthritis and other pain conditions.How can I shape my legs in 2 weeks? ›
Perform just strength-training exercises or combine strength training with cardio. For instance, do lunges, followed by chest presses. Then do jumping jacks and squats, followed by dumbbell curls and pushups.What are the corrective measures for bow legs Class 12? ›
- Bow legs: In this postural defect lower long bones of the legs get bent. ...
- Some corrective measures:
- (i) Give children extra calcium and never force infants to make them stand or walk too early in life. ...
- (ii) Never stand for long hours. ...
- (iii) Put pillow between the legs and try to walk.
Mild bowing in an infant or toddler under age 3 is typically normal and will get better over time. However, bowed legs that are severe, worsening or persisting beyond age 3 should be referred to a specialist.
How to adjust bow legs. A chiropractor can help identify the root problem and work to reverse the condition by re-training the body in a correct posture. A correct diagnosis of bow legs is a good start.Can I run after Bow Leg surgery? ›
Following a high tibial osteotomy procedure, you will need to wait three to eight months before getting back to your usual level of activity.What is the opposite of bow legged? ›
Knock-knees are the opposite of bowlegs. Knock-knees are when the legs curve in, so the knees are touching and the ankles are apart. At 2-3 years of age your child may begin to become knock-kneed (called genu valgum).Are bow legs common in adults? ›
Bowed legs can occur in all age groups and has several distinct causes. In some people bow legs are a problem that requires treatment, in others, it may be a normal part of development.Do bow legs get worse? ›
Their legs are naturally bowed and usually straighten out when they start walking. But with Blount disease — whether it starts in early childhood or the teen years — the curve gets worse if it's not treated.Do people with bowed legs have more knee problems? ›
Because bow legs can alter your knees' structure, it can affect how your legs move. This can lead to an increased risk of knee, hip, and ankle issues. You may also have more problems with balance and stability. Exercise may help you to avoid some of these joint issues by strengthening and stretching your hips and legs.How do you treat bowed legs in adults? ›
In skeletally mature adolescents and in adults, an osteotomy is the treatment to straighten the leg. X-rays are used to determine the location and magnitude of the deformity. In most cases, the tibia is treated, but there are situations when the femur or both femur and tibia are treated.What causes legs to bow in adults? ›
In adults, bowing of the legs can be the result of osteoarthritis or wear-and-tear arthritis of the knees. 4 This condition can wear away the cartilage and surrounding bone of the knee joint. If the wear is more on the inner side of the knee joint, a bow-legged deformity may develop.What deficiency causes bowed legs? ›
Rickets occurs when a child does not get enough vitamin D in their diet. The shortage of vitamin D weakens a child's bones, causing their legs to bow.Does correcting bow legs increase height? ›
Most people are able to walk without crutches and have little or no pain. Some patients with bowlegs report pain in the knee that typically disappears after surgery. As a bonus, patients often gain about one-half an inch in height.
In most children under 2 years old, bowing of the legs is simply a normal variation in leg appearance. Doctors refer to this type of bowing as physiologic genu varum. In children with physiologic genu varum, the bowing begins to slowly improve at approximately 18 months of age and continues as the child grows.How long is recovery for Bow Leg surgery? ›
Healing generally takes about two months; scarring is minimal and often disappears over time. Most people are able to be active with crutches throughout the healing phase. The procedure is a short one – approximately one hour, with a one-night hospital stay.Does knee replacement help bow legs? ›
As time passes, your legs bowing in or out can worsen. This can be a significant sign that a knee replacement is needed, as this form of bow-leggedness will most likely keep worsening. Long-Term Solution for Your Knee Pain: The most common types of knee replacements can last for many years.How is genu varum measured? ›
The varus deformity can be quantified with the hip-knee-ankle angle (HKA), which measures the angle between the mechanical axis of the femur and the center of the ankle joint on AP, full-length, weight-bearing radiographs.
So yes wearing boot legged or wide legged pants are one of the ways to camouflage the bowed legs as below. But if you had long legs you can pull them off without heels, otherwise you can look stumpy!When should I worry about bow legs? ›
Mild bowing in an infant or toddler under age 3 is typically normal and will get better over time. However, bowed legs that are severe, worsening or persisting beyond age 3 should be referred to a specialist.Which vitamin can work as remedy of bow legs? ›
There's no way to prevent your baby from getting bowed legs. But you may be able to prevent certain conditions that are known to cause bowed legs. To prevent rickets, make sure your child is getting enough vitamin D and calcium in their diet.Does lack of vitamin D cause bow legs? ›
Signs & Symptoms
Untreated vitamin D deficiency rickets results in the ends of the long bones becoming enlarged and the legs becoming bowed or knock-kneed. Muscles can become weak and the chest may become deformed due to the pull of the diaphragm on the ribs that have been weakened by rickets (Harrison's groove).
Knock-knees are the opposite of bowlegs. Knock-knees are when the legs curve in, so the knees are touching and the ankles are apart. At 2-3 years of age your child may begin to become knock-kneed (called genu valgum).Does bow legs affect height in adults? ›
The answer is yes. Bow legs – medical practitioners use the term genu varum – occur when there is too much space between the knees, leading to legs that are bent outward in the middle.
However, this seemingly harmless condition can have real ramifications for your body over the course of your life, especially when it comes to back pain. In the long term, bow legs can lead to degenerative spinal conditions due to a lack of proper support.Can I run after Bow Leg surgery? ›
Following a high tibial osteotomy procedure, you will need to wait three to eight months before getting back to your usual level of activity.