Bowed Legs in 14 Month Old

Updated on September 01, 2010
J.C. asks from Newport, KY
16 answers

My son is almost 14 months and has been walking since he was 11 months old. I have always noticed that he has walked with a wobble. I always put it off as being unsteady on his feet because he is a new walker. About a month or so ago my mom noticed that his feet were turning in when he walked. So of course I have been a little obsessive watching my son walk. After watching him and watching other children his age, I saw another little boy who's legs are very straight and my son's are not. And now that I put shorts on him for the first time today, his legs are definitely bowed and there are no doubts that his feet are turning in when he walks. I think this now explains why he trips so much when he walks. He is truly tripping over his own feet. My son goes for his 15 month checkup in 4 weeks. What can I expect to be done for his bowed legs? I know that something has to be done to correct them. Who has had experience with this? Am I looking at corrective shoes? My mom has mentioned metal rods, which has me in a panic. Any advice to calm me down until I get to the doctor's would be great. And please no suggestions on making an earlier appointment. I won't be able to get in and I would have to go back for his 15 month appt. anyway. Thanks.

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answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't worry just yet. My twins were both born with bowed legs since they were so big and cramped for space inside me. They're now almost 18 months, and it has self-corrected. They've been walking since nine and ten months, and once this started was when I began to notice their legs shifting back.

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answers from South Bend on

I agree with the others on the bow leggedness, it will correct. We had one daughter with turned feet and her doctor told us to put her in the hardest shoe we could find and put them on backwards. It was frustrating because when we went to church people would put her shoes on the right feet thinking we didn't get it right but she now has no feet problems and they turned out wonderfully! It took about a year of doing this. Definitely bring it up to your doctor but kids are naturally bowlegged and also with wearing diapers doesn't help. And also they all go through a period of falling just part of being a kid and getting balance. Good luck!


answers from Columbus on

I don't want to scare you, but I would recommend that you take him to a chiropractor to see what is causing it. Whatever the problem is, the sooner you figure it out he easier it will be to correct. I was very "pigeon toed" when I was young, and I had to wear special shoes with braces up my legs until about the age of 3, to turn my feet out. It helped a little but didn't solve the problem. When I was 9, our hairdresser noticed that one of my shoulders was higher than the other, and my parents took me to a Shriner's hospital, and they said I would grow out of it. When I was 17 I had a lot of back pain, and I was diagnosed with scoliosis. Finally at the age of 19 I went to a chiropractor, and when they did a full-body X-ray, they discovered a rotation in my hips that had caused all of those problems. It only took a couple adjustments to fix it, and stop the scoliosis from advancing, but at that age it cannot be reversed without surgery. Things are much easier to fix when you are little that once you are an adult and your bones are done forming.



answers from Dallas on

Hello J.,

He might be just fine, however if you're still concerned, you can also take him to a family chiropractor. My daughter had an issue, she turned her left foot in too much. the pediatrician didn't think it was a problem, but I noticed that she would fall more often and sort of dragged that foot by the end of the day. our Chiropractor took care of it. I'm soooooooooooo glad I took her in.
good luck, follow your gut! ~C.~


answers from Chicago on

My son had this, and I remember feeling exactly as you describe now. He was walking between 10 and 11 months, and he always had excellent gross motor skills. At the 15 month appt, I brought up the bowlegged issue to the doc who promptly disregarded it as being normal. I pressed the issue, and she wrote a referral to an orthopedic specialist. We went, and the guy explained that my son's tibia and fibula are slightly turned. It made us panic a bit until he explained that Michael Jordan has the same thing. I don't know if it is true or not, but my son is doing great. He's 3, and he still has slight in-toeing. He trips almost never.

The orthopedic doc said that corrective shoes and metal rods are outdated and never really solved the issue for kids in the past. He recommended that I wait until my son was 8 or 10 to treat the issue, if it was still there. But he confirmed for us that there wouldn't, and he was right.

Hope this sets your mind at ease a bit! Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

My son is also bow legged. His toes goe inward. At his last check up I asked the doctor about it, he checked his hips said his range of motion in not as good, when he rotate his legs out ward. He said for us to watch him and when he sits (He usually sits on his knees) make him sit on his bottom, which naturally open the legs and hips up more. He said if we continue to do this it will help alot. I would consult your doctor.



answers from Seattle on

Try not to freak out, My coucins little boy had this mildly and DR actaully waited until 18 months before looking further into it because of body still developing, and by 18 months it almost completly corrected it byself.

But worst case senerio she was given, that at night they would have him wear special bootys with a metal rod in it between to help align it at night. Since it was not severe enough to notice when he was younger, would not need surgical intervention.
Best of luck to you :)



answers from Houston on

Try not to worry until you know you have something to worry about. Every child is different and bowed legs (to a certain degree) are developmentally normal in toddlers. Mention it to your doctor and get their opinion, but unless it is abnormally pronounced they will likely take a wait and see approach. There is definitely no reason to make the appointment earlier...even if it appears that there could be an issue, they are going to wait and see if it corrects or gets worse over time (around 2 or so).



answers from Casper on

I would not worry about it until I had asked perhaps more than one doctor about it and found a solution that feels right. There is so much advancement in medicine, even if your mom is familiar with a case from 2 years ago, things could be different today. Like Abe Lincoln said, We have nothing to fear but fear itself.



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with the other's probably normal but it is good to ask to rule out anything else. I remember asking my sons doctor about that too and he basically just watched him walk, had him lay down to bend his knees and see how the leg lined up, told me he was perfectly fine and it would get better as he got older, and it did.
At 14 months he is going to trip a lot [my son still trips all of the time] so that could be due to his age as well.
If something else is going wrong, they will probably make you wait and see if they straighten on their own, or they might give him braces to wear at night, or as a last resort surgery can be done to correct it. There are certain diseases that can cause bow legs [Ricket's is the most famous one associated with it]. They would have to figure that out first and treat it in that case.



answers from Augusta on

I wouldn't worry about it, it will likely correct it self. Today for the most part they wait until a child is 7-8 yrs old to do any drastic measures to correct it because there was a study done that said there is no real difference in correction time between kids that had things like braces or corrective shoes.
My daughter is 8 and in-toes and has inherited "flat feet". She walked VERY early and has done it since she was an infant she's learned to adjust to it and has no problems running and it can be an advantage, some of the fastest sprinters today run with their feet turned inward.
In-toeing and "bowed legs" are very common in infants for the simple reason that they are still learning how their bodies work. And diaper wearing gives the appearance of bowed legs as well. Stop compairing your son to other children you see because you don't really know anything about the child and all kids are different and develop in different ways and you'll drive yourself crazy worrying if your kid is like the others.
At 14 months I'd leave shoes off of him unless he's walking outside , it's better for his foot growth and development.



answers from Indianapolis on

Our son had knock knees for the longest time when he was young and first walking. The shins actually angled outward from the knees down. I felt the same way. Very worried he would be that way forever and it didn't look natural. I talked to his Ped about it and they assured me it would correct itself and sure enough, it did. His legs are very straight now and they didn't have to intervene in any way. I know you need to hear this from a doctor, but I was hoping it might make you feel a little less worried until you get there. Sometimes things have a way of correcting themselves. :) Happy Easter!



answers from Tulsa on


My grandson's dad is the most bowlegged guy I have ever seen and J is just like him. We have stressed out over this so much and the Podiatrist just looks at us and smiles and says he is too young to really do anything about it yet, he's 3. J trips over his feet all the time and it is sad to watch but he is okay. He won't adress the issue much further until J is in elementary school or is unalbe to walk or stand or something effecting his daily living ability.

What the Podiatrist did:

1. He put plastic "lifts/inserts" in J's shoes that cause him to rock his feet differently than they were going. This causes different muscles to strengthen and be used more.

2. He told us to buy shoes that could not be twisted when held by the toe and heel. He needs all the support he can get and some shoes are too soft.

3. He had us do stretching exercises with J when changing his diaper or dressing him.When he was laying on his back we would hold his opposite foot in our opposite hand, his left foot-my left hand (He's facing me), and place it where the palm of his foot was facing the right leg. I would gently push down his left knee, stretching out his left hip joint. Ten gentle stretches every time he is laying down, diapering, relaxing, bathing, etc... The exercise is to strengthen the hip joint and that in turn causes the feet to turn out more and go straighter.

I know that didn't come out right.....if you sit down criss cross legs then move your feet/knees out a bit you can touch the palms of your feet together. Kindof like a diamond shape to your legs. If you lay down, that's the position I'm trying to explain, then holding the foot steady you press down on the knee and stretch the hip joint.

If you look at the picture of the baby in the sling you see sort of the position I am talking about but the feet are facing each other a bit more.

4. He replaces the insert every few months as J's feet grow.

5. We have talked about what will happen as J gets older and he is still bowlegged and the Doc says that eventually, when his bones turn more solid instead of just cartilidge like now, then we can consider using braces at night where he would put on lace up shoes and they would be attached to a brace and he would sleep in it. It isn't too odd and it doesn't last forever. That is kind of a last resort. As long as they can walk and stand the Doc's aren't going to go to extremes to fix bowleggedness, it's not a life threatening issue and plenty of peole have this problem and do just fine.
Our Pediatrician didn't really want to give us a referral to the Podiatrist because she thougt it was too early to even discuss working on it. If you really want to address this then look for Pediatric Podiatrist or Pediatric Orthopedic Doc. that uses your insurance and make an appointment. Even if you have to pay cash cause the insurance won't cover it you will feel better about the choices you make.


answers from Canton on

I wouldn't be too concerned. My daughter started walking at 9mos. and her legs were so bowed she was practically walking on her ankles. Toddler's legs are still soft at that age. By the time my daughter was three, her legs were as straight as an arrow. I'm sure your son's legs will straighten as the bones harden. For your own piece of mind though, I would mention it to the doctor.



answers from Saginaw on

Normally, little kids walk bow-legged until they're looking like 3 year olds, even if they're quite little... it's a body type thing --long and lean is when the walk like 'normal' people and until then they walk like babies, because they are. Those big kids who have large thighs for their proportion walk like ducks because that's what happens...

To calm you? Lie on the living room floor and look at the ceiling until the feeling passes... the first time it happens it might take 14 hours... but every time after that it will take less and less time and you'll be calmer and calmer each time: what happens isn't you... what you are isn't what is happening... what you think is happening is often not what is happening...

You are love, you love, you love your mom and your babe... it's all good. Relax.



answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't worry just yet. My twins were both born with bowed legs since they were so big and cramped for space inside me. They're now almost 18 months, and it has self-corrected. They've been walking since nine and ten months, and once this started was when I began to notice their legs shifting back.



answers from New York on

Hi, My daughter has got the same problem and she has just turned 15 months.. I am waiting for my doctor's appointment but not sure how seriously they will take it... just wanted to know if it got better for your son?

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