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Concerned parents who have a child with bow-leggedness or adults with the issue often wind up resorting to the most invasive scenario for treatment.
In order to correct the issues before they begin and avoid surgery—which no one likes—here are some highly recommended, minimally invasive interventions.
About Bow Legs | What is Knock Knee AKA Genu Valgum
Also called genu varum, bow legs are when the legs appear bowed-out, in the shape of an archery bow.
The knees stay wide apart even when the ankles are pressed together. This is the opposite of genu valgum—also known as knock-knee. Also, do not confuse this with genu recurvatum, or hyperextension of the knee.
Surprisingly, everyone is born with bow legs!
Oftentimes, children under 18 months old have bow legs, because it is a result of being curled up in the womb. Once children start walking, the problem usually corrects itself.
But it some scenarios, the bowing continues well into adulthood.
Before beginning an exercise regimen, sometimes we have to look at what our diet is like. Bone development and maintenance are reliant on calcium, vitamin D, and essential fatty acids.
When someone lacks these nutrients, abnormalities can occur.
For children with bow legs, make sure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. If you are trying to correct your own bow legs without surgery, then be sure to eat nutrient-dense foods that encourage the body to correct and repair issues.
Besides, when you start doing these exercises, you are going to need rich fuel to help keep you motivated and empowered!
Recommended foods for bow leg correction:
- Dairy products – cheese, milk, and yogurt
- Collard greens
- Soybeans (including soy-based milk alternatives)
- Calcium-fortified juices, cereals, and oatmeal
- Sweet potatoes
Also, be sure to limit salt intake. A diet high in sodium can hinder the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
Bow Legs Correction Exercises | How to Fix This Syndrome
These are proven techniques that straighten bow legs without surgery.
1. Yoga and Pilates
The ability to both strengthen and stretch the body at the same time during a yoga or Pilates mat class is very beneficial.
Not only do you learn about body awareness, but you can also receive adjustments in the postures that promote proper alignment. Since maintaining poses does not exert the body like vigorous workouts, you also prevent injury.
Some yoga postures to try at home for correcting bow legs are:
- Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
- Intense Side Stretch Pose (Parsvottanasana)
- Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
Though you can try these poses at home, it is always best to receive instruction from a certified yoga teacher or Pilates trainer to make sure you are in the correct position.
2. Calf Raises
The calf raise does two things: strengthens the ankles and work the calf muscles. You do not need much for this exercise to be effective.
All you need to do is find a step (even standing on a book or step stool works). Position yourself so that only the ball of the foot and toes are firm on the step. The heel is hanging off the edge of the step, book, or stool.
Take care to balance, holding onto something for stability if needed. Stand tall, bringing the knees together as much as possible.
Raise yourself up onto the toes, hold for 10-20 seconds. Then gradually lower yourself back down. When the heels dip slightly below the lip of the step, you have completed 1 repetition.
Lift and lower your heels at least 11 more times for a total of 12 repetitions. It is recommended to gradually work yourself up to 2-3 sets, 12-15 repetitions each.
3. Bodyweight Squats
Being that it is the most functional of all lower body exercises, the squat does amazing things.
Strengthening the knees and hamstrings is very important for getting the bones of the legs to straighten.
To begin, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Toes point slightly outwards.
Lift your arms either out in front of you at shoulder height for balance or behind your head.
Go slow as you bent the knees, careful to keep the knees aligned right of the ankles (not moving inward or rotating outward).
Go as low as you can without lifting the heels, tucking the tailbone, or compromising the length of your back. Do not stress about the depth of the squat.
Tighten the gluteal muscles as you lift your body back up to standing.
Again, keep a careful watch of where the knees and ankles are as you move. Repeat 12-15 times.
4. Side Leg Raise
This exercise works the hip adductor muscles, which may be a cause for bow legs.
Lay down on your side. Put one hand in front of your body, in line with the sternum. The other arm could be cradling your head or stretched out long, in the same line as your body.
Stretch the low leg long.
The top leg bends and is placed flat on the floor, perpendicular to the bottom knee. If your bottom arm is pointing N, for example, your top toes will be point W or E.
As you exhale, if the bottom leg from the floor. Only go as high as you can right now. Lift and lower with the breath. Repeat 8-10 times on both sides.
5. Physiotherapy Sessions
Choosing physical therapy to fix bow legs in both children and adults is smart.
A physical therapist that has knowledge with correcting bow legs and knock knees will know how to massage the legs and work the muscles to bring the legs into a normal position.
Pairing physiotherapy with the previously mentioned exercises, yoga and Pilates will provide the best results.
Many people see results in about 5 months.
6. Special Knee Braces
Though this is only recommended for kids and adolescents since their bones are still growing, braces are highly effective.
Medical braces will be worn by the child until his or her legs and knees have straightened.
The earlier your child begins wearing a brace, the sooner it can be removed. Pair knee braces with corrective exercises and surgery can be completely avoided.
Never let anyone tell you that surgery is necessary to correct bow legs.
There are plenty of corrective exercises and non-invasive measures out there that can work wonders.
By adding some functional exercises to the daily routine, attending a yoga or Pilates class, or enlisting the aid of a physical therapist, there is surely a route that suits you or your child the best.
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