Limb lengthening in the treatment of posteromedial bowing of the tibia

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Purpose: Posteromedial bowing of the tibia is an uncommon but recognized congenital lower extremity deformity in children that can lead to limb length discrepancy (LLD) and residual angulatory deformity. The purpose of this study is to report a series of children at a single institution with posteromedial bowing treated by lengthening. Methods: A retrospective review was carried out at our institution identifying 16 patients who were treated with limb lengthening for posteromedial bowing of the tibia and followed to skeletal maturity. Projected LLD was a mean of 7.7 cm (range 5.0 cm to 14.2 cm). Three patients were treated in a staged fashion with lengthening and deformity correction at age three to four years and subsequent definitive tibial lengthening. The remaining 13 patients were treated with limb lengthening approaching adolescence using circular external fixation. Results: All patients were pain free and ambulated without a limp at final follow-up. The mean final LLD was 0.3 cm short. In spite of correction of distal tibial shaft valgus in 11 of the 16 patients, eight of the 16 (50%) required later correction of persistent, symptomatic ankle valgus by either hemiepiphyseodesis (seven patients) or osteotomy (one patient). Conclusions: Children with posteromedial bowing of the tibial with projected LLD over 5cm can be effectively treated with lengthening. Patients with severe valgus of more than 30° of shaft valgus and difficulty ambulating at age three years can be successfully treated with a two-stage lengthening proce dure. Attention should be paid in patients with posteromedial bowing to ankle valgus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-487
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Children's Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020


  • Limb length discrepancy
  • Limb lengthening
  • Pediatric
  • Posteromedial bowing
  • Tibia


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