You may have previously heard of people being bow-legged or knock-kneed.
These are the everyday terms for two common orthopedic deformities.
Varus is an excessive angulation toward the body’s midline of the distal segment of a bone or joint, while Valgus is an angulation away from midline.
Varus deformity is more common than valgus and is known to be an increased risk factor for developing osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee. Both Varus and Valgus, however, can result in progression of or worsening of OA once it is already present in the knee. Weight loss may be suggested for some patients to reduce the risk of OA associated with these deformities (Please see your doctor before changing your dietary program).
Varus and Valgus deformities can also have an affect on your menisci. Your meniscus is cartilage in the joint between your knee bones. The meniscus acts as a cushion, so when pressure is applied abnormally, the cushion can tear or be damaged. Meniscal tears can cause catching and locking of the knee and can be very painful. Typically, a knee arthroscopy is recommended to treat these injuries, though PRP injections have been shown to have a positive effect on the inflammatory response caused by meniscal tears. A damaged meniscus alone can increase a patient’s risk of developing OA as it is a disruption in the knee’s natural cushion, so it is important to be aware of any pain or mechanical failures (giving way, catching, or locking) in the knee.
Though Varus and Valgus cannot be corrected without surgery, symptoms can be lessened by lifestyle changes under the direction of a physician. However, once OA has become severe enough, you may need a knee replacement. During a knee replacement, a surgeon can correct the Varus/Valgus deformity in the knee using precise calculations to change the angle of the distal segment of the bone. OA can also be treated using exciting, non-invasive orthobiologic injections such as Combined Cell Therapy or Lipogems, however, the bowing (inward or outward) would most likely remain.
If you suffer from one of these deformities, or need any orthopedic care, please call our office to set up an appointment today. 985-273-5888.