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Tibial varum

What is tibial varum?

Tibial varum is an inward curvature of the tibia, which gives the leg or legs a 'bowed' appearance; this means that there is a large gap between the knees.

Often having tibial varum is symptom free and requires no intervention. For some people, however,

tibial varum can produce pain elsewhere in the body, this is because the curvature in the tibia alters the mechanics of the lower limb. Pain that results from tibial varum includes:

What causes tibial varum?

The majority of tibial varum has no underlying cause, and the curvature is simply a bony abnormality, however, there are conditions that can cause the legs to bow, and these include:

  • Blount's disease
  • Rickets

What are the signs and symptoms of tibial varum?

The main sign of tibial varum is a slight curve in the shin bone (the tibia) that is visible when being viewed from either the front or the back. This curvature creates a larger than normal gap between the legs and the knees. The curvature in the tibia gives the appearance of 'bowed legs'. Other signs include:

How is tibial varum diagnosed?

A podiatrist will diagnose tibial varum based on the signs and symptoms. A number of medical conditions can cause the legs to bow, it is particularly important with children to differentiate between these, it is therefore important to find out what the underlying cause is. A detailed medical history is therefore essential.

Benefits of podiatry for tibial varum

Podiatric benefits are achieved by addressing any mechanical dysfunction that is being caused by the tibial varum, such as pain and inflammation in the hip, knee or foot. Podiatric benefits for tibial varum include:

  • Reduction in pain
  • Improved lower limb mechanics
  • Improved gait

What would podiatry for tibial varum involve?

Podiatry for tibial varum would involve:

  • A thorough history
  • A biomechanical assessment
  • Gait analysis
  • A footwear assessment
  • An examination
The deformity of tibial varum is a bony abnormality, it therefore cannot be corrected without surgery. However, it is possible to relieve any pain or discomfort caused by any compensatory mechanisms that are taking placed as a result of the tibial varum. Prescribed Orthoses will often be recommended to relieve any knee, leg, or Achilles pain that is caused by the tibial varum deformity.


Tibial varum describes an inward curvature of the tibia; this is the larger of the two bones in the lower leg. The inward curvature produced with tibial varum gives the legs a bowed appearance, this means that there is a larger than normal gap in between the legs and the knees. Those people that display tibial varum may also suffer from knee, leg, or Achilles pain caused by compensatory mechanisms which are occurring as a result of the tibial varum, all of which can be relieved with the help of a prescribed orthoses and footwear modification.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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