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Blount's Disease

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Blount's Disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Blount's Disease?

 

Blount’s disease refers to bowing of the legs (genu varum). There are two major groups of children with Blount’s disease. Young children may develop Blount’s disease without any apparent explanation. There is a sudden shift in growth of the tibia (the lower leg bone) so that the inner edge does not grow as well as the outer edge (Lehman, 2004). With progressive growth of the outer edge, the legs are forced to bow. In small children, this is most often painless and it affects both sides.

 

 

 

In teenagers, Blount’s disease is associated with obesity. In these children, it is suspected that the excessive weight puts too much stress on the inner side of the lower leg bone (medial side of the tibia) and the growth plate is damaged (Lehman, 2004). Under these circumstances, one side may be affected without the other. Blount’s disease in teenagers may be associated with progressive pain. At first the pain may be intermittent and relieved by acetaminophen or other pain relievers, but over time it may steadily worsen. Lehman (2004) notes that if Blount's Disease is left untreated, the pain will continue and the damage to the joint may result in the premature development of mechanical arthritis. An orthopedic surgeon should monitor children of all ages with Blount’s disease (Lehman, 2004).

 


Treatment Options for Blount's  Disease

 

The best treatment for early onset Blount Disease is Brace Treatment. Aird et al (2009) notes that brace treatment should be attempted in all children younger than 2.5 years with stage I or II disease. Brace treatment has been shown to correct the abnormal growth of the tibial bone. If however, the disease continues to progress to stage III with brace treatment, it will no longer be effective. Other risk factors for failure of brace treatment include obesity, varus thrust, age older than 3 years at initial treatment, and bilateral disease (Aird et al, 2004)..

 

 

References

 

Aird, J.J. and Hogg, A. and Rollinson, P. Femoral torsion in patients with Blount's disease: a previously unrecognised component. J Bone Joint Surg Br. Oct 2009;91(10):1388-93

 

Lehman, T.J. (2004) It's not Just Growing Pains: A Guide to Childhood Muscle, Bone, and Joint Pain, Rheumatic Diseases, and the Latest Treatments. Oxford University Press: New York.   

 

 

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