What is Blount’s Disease?
Blount’s disease is a condition affecting the growth plate of the tibia, also known as the shin bone. The growth plate does not grow properly and the leg begins to grow with an angular deformity known as bow-legs or genu varum.
What causes Blount’s?
Blount’s is typically caused by weight. Children and adolescents who are overweight may have this condition; however, in the toddler it may also be caused by metabolic conditions such as nutritional rickets--a deficiency of vitamin D in the diet, but this is much less common.
Is this a problem?
If the growth plate is no longer growing properly, yes, this is a problem. Your doctor will determine this based on x-rays.
What are the treatment options?
Children 2 ½ - 4 years of age can be treated with braces to help correct the deformity and hopefully restore appropriate growth of the tibia. Children older than 4 may need surgery to correct the deformity. The surgery may involve altering the growth plate, or cutting the bones to realign them.
Adolescents may also develop Blount’s and need treatment for this. Surgery is usually the treatment and this may also involve altering the growth plate. If the deformity is severe or the growth plate is no longer working properly, a larger surgery may be recommended. This includes cutting bones and placement of an external fixator to realign the leg. Your doctor will talk to you about this in more detail of surgery is needed.