What is Blount’s Disease?
Blount's disease is a growth deformity occurring below the knee joint. An abnormality of the growth plate causes it in one or more of the leg's bones. It is also seen in obese children and young children who are early walkers. Blount’s disease occurs in children up to two years of age. Its key symptom is significant severe bowing.
The deformity is often found at the top of the tibia (shin bone), the larger of the lower legs' two bones. In such cases, deformity occurs when the lateral (outer) side of the tibia tends to develop while the medial (or inner) side of the tibia does not grow. Blount's disease may affect one or both legs.
Blount's disease treated in later stages might enhance the chances of joint knee arthritis and other early lower leg degeneration.
Blount's deformity consists of varus, procurvatum, and internal tibial rotation. This effect disrupted physeal development's asymmetry more evident in the posteromedial aspect of proximal tibial physis. Blount’s disease may also be associated with a limb-length difference and, in some patients, distal femur deformity.
What is Behind Blount's Disease?
It remains unclear the precise cause of the disease blount. However, scientists assume that it is a mixture of many external factors, including genetic, environmental, and mechanical factors. In African American families, children, especially girls and those families with a history of Blount's, are far more common.
Another factor leading to Blount's disease may be your child's early walking. Yes, those steps before time put pressure on the lower leg.
In obese or overweight children, Blount’s disease is more common. It is thought that the extra weight put on the tibia in these children contributes to the irregular bone growth process.
What Are Blount Disease Signs and Symptoms?
Kids with Blount's illness will have one or both of their legs bowing, a condition called genu varum. Some may also complain of knee pain or instability, particularly adolescents.
How is Blount's Disease Diagnosed?
A pediatrician will usually suspect Blount’s Disease if a child displays bowing of the legs during a normal visit. In that case the pediatrician will usually refer the case to an orthopaedic surgeon. The older a child is, the more obvious these changes will be on the X-ray when the condition is detected.
Blount's disease is identified by careful physical examination, followed by leg X-rays. The abnormal shape of the tibia and possibly the changes in the growth plate of the bone just under the knee will be demonstrated by these X-rays.
In order to distinguish between normal bone growth and development and Blount's disease, which shows more severe bowing, orthopaedic surgeons will take measurements from X-rays of the angles of different leg segments. If Blount's disease is diagnosed, these measurements will enable the surgeon to develop the best treatment plan and monitor the correction of the deformity as a result of treatment.
Treating Blount's Disease
Blount's disease care aims to correct the deformity and improve the legs' overall alignment of the leg at a tender age.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Bowing Condition
Bracing can be efficient for young patients with infantile Blount's disease. Bracing aims to guide the legs as the child grows into a straighter position. Usually, an improvement is noticed within 12 months after treatment. Tests may be necessary if the deformity is not corrected by the age of 4.
Blount's Disease Surgery Treatment
If bracing does not achieve the desired results, surgery may be considered. Surgery may be required in people with severe deformities who are no longer candidates for bracing. There are several surgeries, including osteotomies and hemiepiphysiodesis, available to treat symptoms of Blount’s disease.
An osteotomy involves the bone being cut and realigned to put it in a normal position. The deformity is oftentimes quickly corrected by this type of surgery.
On the other hand, hemiepiphysiodesis, over the years, corrects the deformity. To stop the growth on that side, it involves placing plates or staples on one side of the growth plate.
Some use a device called an external fixator to hold the external bones in place. If the toes of a child turn in, surgeons can correct it too.
Surgical treatment of blount is always the most effective treatment for adolescent Blount's disease.
Blount's Disease Physical Therapy
An important part of treatment is physical therapy, and most patients continue to see their rehabilitation therapists after leaving the hospital three times a week. Physical therapy helps make sure that as the bone heals, the surrounding soft tissues remain flexible and that muscle strength is restored when the child is older.
What is the Outlook for Blount's Disease Patients?
Most children can resume their normal activities without restrictions once the deformity is corrected. However, your child should be examined throughout his or her development by an orthopedic specialist. Monitoring for deteriorating deformities or variation in leg lengths, which may result from this illness, is important.
Maintaining a healthy weight benefits all children, and especially those with Blount's disease. Over time, it helps limit the damage to joints.