oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Bilateral genu vara in childhood

Volume 29, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



The clinical significance of bilateral genu vara was studied over a 2 year period (September 1979 - August 1981) in 30 children (male 13, female 17) aged 18 months to 5.5 years with respect to aetiology, dietary history, religious background and severity of deformity. On the basis of their clinical, radiological and biochemical findings, 21 of the subjects were classified as having nutritional rickets, two had Blount's disease (infantile tibia vara) and the remaining seven subjects were normal. Based on the distance between the inner surfaces of the knees, the degree of genu vara was assessed as grade I (<5 cm); grade II (5.0 - 7.4 cm); grade III (7.5- 9.9 cm) and grade IV (10 cm and above). Five of the subjects had grade I genu vara, six had grade II, twelve had grade III and seven grade IV. The children with normal physiological bowing presented at an earlier age and they were on breast-milk for a shorter period of time than those subjects with rickets. Those children whose bowing was due to rickets came from the middle and lower social classes and from Moslem homes. The study showed that rickets is responsible for most cases of genu vara seen at Ibadan. It was therefore concluded that grade III and/or IV genu vara, in a child who is:3 years old and above and comes from a lower social class as well as a Moslem family, is invariably due to rickets. However, both radiological and biochemical investigations should be carried out to confirm the diagnosis.

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