The following patient information sheet is meant to help patients and family better understand a specific pediatric orthopaedic condition. It is not meant to be comprehensive, and only reflects one viewpoint. This page does not replace a medical evaluation by a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, and your own surgeon may have a different approach to your condition.
My child has a leg deformity, but I cannot find its name in the list.
There are many causes of leg deformity, with only the more common conditions described in the list. Although this section describes some of the general principles of treating leg deformity, formal consultation will be required to make recommendations for your child’s condition.
Analysis of leg deformity
Your child’s complaints are very important in understanding a leg deformity. Does it cause pain or functional issues? Do these signs match the deformity, or could there be another (and possibly easier to treat) cause?
A careful and thorough physical is also critical. Deformity of the joints above and below the obvious deformity can be missed if not specially sought out. Rotational deformity cannot be measured on plain x-rays.
For more complicated deformity, multiple specialized x-rays are often required. This allows full understanding of the deformity, and allows for a comprehensive treatment plan.
Treatment of leg deformity
A variety of treatment options occur if a deformity warrant surgical correction.
Whenever possible, guided growth is incorporated, as it involves much smaller surgeries. Guided growth is not effective for treating rotational deformity or when inadequate growth remains. Please see my separate section on guided growth.
When guided growth is not an option, osteotomy involves a larger surgery but allows for immediate correction of most deformities. Please see my separate section on leg osteotomy.
Rarely, a deformity is so severe that it cannot be corrected with an osteotomy. This includes cases where the limb is significantly short and deformed. In these cases, external fixation may be necessary to fully correct a deformity. Please see my separate section on external fixation.