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What are bowed legs?

Bowed legs is a condition where the legs bend outwards around or below the knees, even when the ankles are together. It occurs when the growth plate near the inside of the knee slows down or stops making new bone while the growth plate near the outside continues to grow normally, giving a bowed appearance to the legs.

Bowed legs are a natural part of a child’s development, typically around two years old. In some children, the condition worsens or develops in later childhood. However, many factors, such as the child’s nutrition, health, and lack of vitamin D, can influence the condition.

What issues do children with bowed legs face?


Bowed legs hinder growth and limit mobility because of pain, sometimes causing problems with the spine, nerves, urinary tract, and reproductive system.


Children often experience discrimination, leading to poor self-confidence and isolation.


Lack of mobility makes it hard for children to participate in community life, play with friends, or even consistently attend school.

How does surgery change a child’s life?

  • Legs are straightened and can grow normally.
  • Mobility improves so children can run, play, walk pain-free, and complete school, which leads to more opportunities.
  • Children experience hope as they are accepted into community life.

Miracles happen every day at CURE Children’s Hospital of Malawi


Rabecca’s bowed legs brought her pain and ridicule, leading her to drop out of school. Determined to help her daughter, Rabecca’s mom traveled through the night to bring her to CURE Malawi. The journey was worth it because Rabecca can now walk pain-free and return to school.


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CURE Malawi’s mission is to provide every child living with a treatable disability the physical, emotional, and spiritual care they need to heal. If you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE, please contact us.

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