First of all bow legs (genu varum) and knock knee (genu valgum)
are deformities that are not only cosmetic defects. They also
lead to knee-joint move abnormality that after a number of years
result to arthritis.
If we look at picture 1 we find out that normal body weight distribution
is when the leg axis go straight through femoral head, center
of the knee-joint and center of articulation of foot. In this
case the body weight distribute naturally and articular cartilage
of knee-joint have equal weight distribution at full surface.
There is natural position of knee-joint that allows to save the
articular cartilage in health during years.
What is happen when a person have bow legs or knock-knee? Look
at the picture 2. You could see that legs axises go still straight
through femoral head and center of articulation of foot but do
not go through center of the knee-joint. So body weight distribution
change and regarding the knee-joint one part of the knee have
more loading than another. If bow legs there is more loading of
inner part of knee-joint and if knock knee there is more loading
of outer part of knee-joint. So articular cartilage of knee-joint
have different weight distribution at surface that leads to its
attrition in the part where the loading is maximum. In time the
articular cartilage attrition leads to arthritis and a person
feels pain in knee-joints. Appearance of arthritis usually happen
after years in elderly age but sometimes it is happen in middle
age. It depends on individual health of each person.
The only way to protect yourself from appearance of knee-joint
arthritis is the surgery for bow legs and knock-knee correction.
With the surgery the leg axis become natural position so articular
cartilage of knee-joint get equal weight distribution at full
surface and keeps its health in years. Also there is a cosmetic
effect that lets a person feels himself or herself more comfortable
around other people.
Doctor Vitaliy Veklich
Orthopaedic surgeon and Doctor of Medicine