Natural Cures for Bow Legs

Last Modified on Jun 19, 2014

Bow legs are a condition that is fairly typical among young children; however, the leg deformity can also extend into later years in life if left untreated. In most cases, though, the condition can be treated effectively with natural home practices. Stretching, exercising, and taking nutritional supplements is often enough to completely eradicated bowed legs.

What Causes Bowed Legs?

MedlinePlus defines bow legs as a condition in which your knees stay wider apart when you are standing with your feet together. It is considered normal in children who are still developing and are under the age of 18 months; however, the condition sometimes persists due to specific medical conditions or concerns.

Some of the most common causes of pervasive bow leggedness include abnormal development, Blount’s disease, fractures in the bones that healed improperly, lead or fluoride poisoning, and vitamin D deficiency. Symptoms of the condition are relatively common to notice and include the knees not touching when standing with your feet together, the same bowing on each leg, and bowed legs that continue beyond age 3.

Can I Treat Bow Legs At Home?

It is important to seek a doctor’s supervision when treating bowed legs because the condition could be a sign of a more progressive disorder. However, in most cases, you can effectively treat the condition at home. Exercising and stretching are two of the most effective ways to treat bow legs, but nutritional supplements, like vitamin D, are also often helpful.

1. Exercise

According to LiveStrong staff, exercise that builds the muscles in your legs is one of the most effective ways to treat bow legs. Strengthening the muscles that surround your upper thighs and knees are the most important. You can try different exercise techniques like Pilates.

2. Stretches

Stretching is another important way to improve the posture of your legs as well as the rest of your body. Exercises like yoga help lengthen the muscles in your body and strength the core or center of those muscles. Stretching also helps to realign your skeletal and muscular systems to better support your body throughout.

3. Vitamin D

According to Boston Children’s Hospital, bowed legs can also be caused by vitamin D deficiency. As such, it is important to incorporate this supplement into a treatment plan to remedy bowed legs. WebMD suggests a daily dose of 400 to 1,000 IU daily for children up to 1 year and 1,500 to 2,000 IU for adults.

Give one of these treatment options a try or keep reading for more natural remedies from our readers.

References:
Bowlegs - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001585.htm
Bowlegs: Overview - http://www.childrenshospital.org/health-topics/conditions/bowlegs
Exercises to Straighten Bow Legs - http://www.livestrong.com/article/461075-exercises-to-straighten-bow-legs/

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User Reviews




Bow Leg Remedies   0  0   

Posted by Mohan. C (Bangalore, India.) on 08/30/2013

Hi, This is Mohan.C from Bangalore, India. I've bow legs, which needs to correct because due to this I feel embrassment in the society. In order lead a comfortable life, I need to correct my bow legs. Please tell me Is there any way to get rid from this? Thanks.

Replied by Tom
Fort Worth, Texas
09/01/2013
Concerning the "bow leg" problem, if you are willing to undergo surgery there is a solution. Google "bow leg surgery solution" or "leg lengthening" and you'll find many doctors who perform this surgery. It is expensive and insurance will rarely pay.
Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe
09/01/2013
Mohan, I know someone who has considerably lessened their "bow legs" with exercises from Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free, and from Katy Bowman's stretching exercises from her foot book (it's not only for women! ). It will take time but is totally free!
Replied by Glancil
Karnataka, Kundapur
11/26/2013
Sir, my legs Are like this (). I feel to bad about this. While going out all will watch us, plaese I need a solution for this... Without the operation
Replied by Wayofescape
Motown, Ca
11/29/2013
Hello! Just reading about "blue light special" under remedies, and came across a bit of info about colored light that could help restore your legs!

Orange light heals rickets, which often is the cause of bowed legs. It said it was possible to correct this and restore the bowed legs to a more normal condition.

It suggests placing colored cloth over a window or lamp, or using a piece of colored glass and letting sunlight pass through, or even making a little pup tent.

Hope it works! Couldn't hurt.

--AlwaysAWayOut

Pilates   1  0   

Posted by Tahiti (Monroeville, Pa) on 08/13/2009

Is there anything that a person can do or take, which is natural, to help cure bowlegs. I have been bowlegged all of my life and it seems to be getting worse with age. I am in my late fifties. Any and all information will be greatly appreciated!

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca
09/06/2009
[YEA]   Hi Tahiti,

In my experience, I have corrected bow-legged people through Pilates. It has a lot to do with muscle weaknesses. Mostly, it has been young people- under 21 but I have seen one of the women I work with and have worked with for quite a few years completely correct her bow legs and she is in her mid- 40's. Mind you, you must be consistent with the work. I have been a ballet dancer all my life and have taught for 25 years now both ballet and Pilates. At any rate, you can purchase a Pilates ring and use that by squeezing it between your legs. There are various exercises you can do with it that can help. Perhaps you can find Pilates on the internet and see it being used. The main thing is that you must strengthen the muscles on the inner thighs because that is the imbalance causing the problems in your ankles and knees. Think of exercises to strengthen that area. I hope this information helps you.

Replied by Tahiti
Monroeville, Pa
09/06/2009
Lisa, thank you so much for your reply. I have heard about Pilates, but never thought that it could be a remedy for correcting bowed-legs. I am most certainly going to get the ring and try it. What have I got to lose! ps-this is the best medical site that I've ever been on. Mad kudos to the inventors of this site and to everyone who has something positive to add!
Replied by Lady
Liverpool, Uk
06/24/2011
Hi I'm just wondering if using the Pilates ring made any difference to your legs?
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
06/24/2011
I have successfully turned bowed- legs around w/ a Pilates circle on others- a couple were grown women!
Replied by Jay
Cedar Lake, Indiana
07/20/2011
Which Pilates ring would you recommend? Could you possibly list some of the exercises as well? Thanks.
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
07/24/2011
I would suggest a metal type Pilates ring. Stott Pilates makes an excellent one in two different sizes. I have noticed the ones in sporting goods stores are cheap and made of a type of plastic. Quite honestly, I think my dancers could break them! Anyway, I don't know if there are others that make the metal type. As for exercises, basically you just need to squeeze it and hold and strengthen all the inside muscles of the legs. That is how I have seen results though I do many types of exercises w/ the circle. You can find videos of using the circle as well. Hope this helps.
Replied by Jay
Cedar Lake, Indiana
07/25/2011
Thank you so much Lisa. I greatly appreciate it. Sorry to be a pain, but do you have your clients perform a specific duration for the exercise?
Replied by Missy
Makati, Philippines
06/11/2012
Hi Lisa, I am just curious on which part of the leg will I squeeze using the ring? My upper or lower leg? And how will it correct the curves of my legs? I would really appreciate your answer. And lastly, how long will it take before I can see results? Im sure all other people are eager to know how to correct bow legs. Thanks and hope to hear from you.
Replied by Sophie@oc
Irvine, Ca, United States
06/17/2012
This is for Lisa of Thousand Oaks: Hi Lisa, When you say it may have a lot do with muscle weakness, how exactly does using a Pilates ring help change the position and structure of bow legs to become more normal looking? My problem isn't exactly bow legs but with my upper legs, where the legs join the pelvic/hip bone. My upper legs look strange because I look like I have saddlebags but in actuality, the outer bones seem to stick out and there isn't all that much muscle/fat on them so it's not just a matter of losing some fat or toning up. I was wondering, if this too, may be a problem with just my muscles being "weak"? Would pilates help to gently and gradually move my leg bones into the proper position if it indeed a problem of just weak muscles?

Thank you in advance!

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
06/17/2012
Hi Sophie, In answer to your question, I use a pilates circle quite effectively when I am training all my dancers as well as women who would just like to experience more fitness. Many "problematic areas" can be corrected with Pilates exercises but the circle just helps intensify the workout as well as make them even more effective.

The issue you are having could be that you have just lost a lot of muscle tone in that area. There are many exercises for your entire body that can be done with the pilates circle. A suggestion for you would be to go on youtube and just type in pilates circle and many instructional videos will come up. You can then choose which ones you'd like to view.

Another suggestion would be to go to balancedbody.com and then click on Community at the top. It will take you to the page where you will see podcasts. They have a tremendous amount of instructional videos you can view, all very well done. Actually you might want to go here first since these are top people in this field giving instruction.

I hope this helps you. If you have any other questions, just let me know! Lisa


06/23/2012
Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to give me a response! I am 36 and I always knew something was strange about my lower body and these "saddlebag bones" are definitely one of them. The best example of how my sides look when you are looking at straight at me is Kelly Clarkson. She has lumpy looking saddlebag like protrusion on both sides but it's hard to tell if it's just excess flesh padding or if she's like me, just mostly bones sticking out.

I'm totally going to check out the Pilates ring and the videos you suggested! Thanks again Lisa!

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
06/23/2012
Hi Sophie, I'm so glad to be of help. What you are describing can totally be corrected with Pilates. Also, if you have the funds, you can find Pilates classes. Just look for good instructors. There is a lot of Pilates available in Irvine.

I really do hope you take the time to look at the videos. There is some very valuable information in them which can help correct many different issues. I have seen bodies completely transform through Pilates! Best in your quest, Lisa

Replied by K. Leg
New York City, NY
06/24/2012
Lisa, thank you very much for the advice and suggestions. One question: how long should my exercise with the pilates ring take? 20 minutes, 30? What is the length of time you normally give your students? Thank you for reading.
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, USA
06/24/2012
Hi K. Leg, You should be able to accomplish a significant amount of exercise in 30 min. I wouldn't go beyond that or you will then start to find reasons not to exercise at all! Unless of course, you do fall in love with it! Still, that should be enough to get you fit. My students do about 25 minutes of intense core work/ leg work to prepare themselves for our ballet class. I started requiring this of all my dancers about 8 years ago because I noticed how much quicker it got them to where I needed them in order to achieve the most in their ballet effort, without any injuries!

What I would suggest is that you learn a base of exercises so that you know them and have them at your fingertips and enough variety that you don't get bored with it. There is plenty of video available where I pointed you. I find they talk too much but I have been doing this work since I was 17 so perhaps it's because I already know what they're trying to achieve and I don't need the detailed explanations. A novice may not feel the same way I do.

Anyway, once you've learned a variety of pilates exercises you will have a much to choose from. Also, if you want to, you could just order a pilates basic mat exercise video from the place I told you about. It covers everything and once learned, takes 20-30 minutes easily.

I hope this helps you. I love what Pilates does for people and I know you will quickly see the results providing you put in the work. Best to you, Lisa

Replied by K. Leg
New York City
06/25/2012
Lisa, Thank you, once again. Another question: How long did it take your dancers to correct their bow-legs through pilates? Did it take a couple of weeks, or a few months? Thanks for reading.
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
06/25/2012
Hi K. Leg, My answer to that would have to be, it varies. It depends on age, severity, commitment to working on it. Too many factors to give an actual time frame. I don't know your age, nor your severity so I couldn't give you an answer. I would just say to focus on the work and learn to enjoy the process. That's the advice I give all my students whether kids or adults. I tend to be a goal-oriented person but I also enjoy the process of reaching that goal otherwise, what's the point to life?! I also find that in the process on whatever journey we take, we learn so much and sometimes the path takes us into new places we would never have discovered otherwise!

I encourage you to just do it! As the saying goes. Wishing you the best on your journeys, Lisa


07/07/2012
Lisa, may I ask you one last question? I know this discussion is about bowed legs but I was hoping you could help me with this one too if you wouldn't mind so much: I have kind of big, bulky calves and I think part of the reason this is is because my legs never really got the chance to develop properly growing up. My lower legs probably wouldn't be considered bowed but the area where the ankle bone joins the lower leg bones have this unusual noticeable curve and I have noticed that almost every female I see who has big calves almost always seem to have this lower curving of the connective joing area, even though the rest of their body is slim or average (as I am). My sisters who don't have bulky calves have a straight line from the foot to the ankle to the knee but mine is different. I am almost certain a contributing factor to my mis-development was from a lack of calcium (stopped drinking milk when I finished 5th grade), sunshine, and on top of not getting those, lots and lots of coke drinking and candy from 6th grade on.

The curvature that I am talking about seems more the way the bone is shaped, rather than something I can change by strengthening the muscles around it. I have done lots of internet research on how to reduce the bulkiness, (and most of it seems to be muscle although I do not deliberately work my leg muscles). Something I read from a famous exercise instructor to reduce this actually made them even bigger and look so much wider so I stopped. It was an exercise that you stood away from the wall keeping one leg muscles flexed and keeping your balance by having your hands on the wall. Toe raises were a bad idea as well. My calves went back to their prior state eventually when I stopped these exercies but I was still stuck with ugly calves that kept me from exposing my legs in shorts, dresses, leggings... so my whole lower body has always been a source of frustration for me.

As you know from my earlier post, I have issues with saddlebag-like protrusion which I am going to try to fix with the Pilates ring, watching the youtube videos you suggested and I'm hoping you could maybe address this one too!

Sorry this is so long-winded but I thought since you are a Pilates expert, maybe you have experience or thoughts on why leg calves can be bulky and what to do about it.

I'm not sure if I am allowed to post a link but it is here that I found a picture of someone's legs (calves) that look pretty similar to mine, except mine are smaller overall but still big for someone my stature. Please scroll down and take a look at the picture in post 96 to get an idea what my lower legs look like. There was some talk of having had surgery but that isn't something I am likely to consider, given the risks.

http://forum.purseblog.com/health-and-fitness/how-can-i-make-my-calves-smaller-25720-7.html

Many thanks, you've given me some hope about how to combat my "saddlebag" dilemma. : -)

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
07/07/2012
Hi, of course, I'm happy to answer your question. I have looked at the picture you gave as an example. I have to tell you, your calves are nothing to be embarrassed about. Mine actually look similar to the picture and I am 5'2" as well. As a trained ballet dancer, it is not unusual for us to have very well-developed calves but, instead of being embarrassed of them, we are quite proud of them. It is from all of our training on releve and doing pointe work. They show what we have accomplished. And we keep our weight down so we are thin, but not lacking muscle. You'll notice all ballet dancers legs look similar to this. I guess this is a fine example of, point of view is everything! This may not be something you want to hear, but I think you should be proud of your well- developed calves. This is also inherent to your particular body type. Your sisters just have different body types. I don't think it's due to "mis-development".

Anyway, sometimes we just have to accept our God-given body and make the best of it. When I train my girls they go through puberty and their bodies change. They all are unique and I tell them so when they complain or are unhappy that they don't look like so-and-so, etc. I want them to develop healthy self-esteem, not pine over what they don't have! Instead of complaining, make the best of what you do have, I tell them. And then we go to work from a positive place rather than from a weak and lacking attitude.

Think of it this way, every flower is different and unique. We look at each one and admire their beauty rather than look at the tulip and say, "Well, you don't look like the rose- how sad!" I think all of my girls are beautiful and then we go to work to be the best dancers we can. So, I say to you, accept your body and then go to work to make it the best it can be! Congratulations too, on effort to move forward! Lisa


07/21/2012
Lisa, I can't thank you enough for being ever so helpful and supportive in my quests for advice for my problem areas. You are right that I should just learn to accept my calves the way they are and I really do want to get to the point where I won't care so much about how they look and be able to wear shorts or skirts someday because it's torture during the hot summer months!

I bought and received the Stott pilates ring! I worked on squeezing them with my thighs one night and boy, I could hardly muster the strength to squeeze but I did, for a good while in one sitting. The insides of my thighs were sore the next day and for a few days after so I decided to not do any until the soreness went away. The next time I started my squeezing, I could tell I had gotten stronger! It was definitely easier to squeeze this time around so just that one workout I did apparently strengthened my muscles which is awesome. I didn't see any visible reduction in my flabby thighs but I know I will in time so I am very excited but even more excited to be correcting my "saddlebag bones"!

Thanks again Lisa. Hopefully I will be updating you with my great progress in the future!

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
07/21/2012
Hi again, I'm so glad to hear you got your Pilates ring! It is such an effective tool and can be used in so many ways- as you experienced the immediate results in just one use. Keep going with it, you will be glad you did. You will quickly grow in strength and change your body shape by using it. If you can give yourself just 10 minutes a day using it in various ways, you will reap the benefits right away. Have you been able to find the videos I pointed you towards?

Also, good for you for learning to accept your God-given body. We can only make the best of what we were given not resent it! That will never help. I look forward to hearing updates on your progress!

The best to you on your quest, Lisa


08/04/2012
Hi Lisa! I did find some great videos on YT although I wonder which ones would be most beneficial to me for my specific target areas. I cannot wait to see my sides move in a bit so that I can see the sides look the way they should look - smoother and more streamlined looking, not ugly lumps sticking out that look out of place. Not a good look when wearing slim fitting pants. I am doing about 10 minutes a night of squeezing the circle with my thighs near the knees, just sitting on a step stool. I know I have become stronger because the first two times I did this, I was actually sweating which shocked me! Now, it's less of a challenge to do the squeezing and much longer to start feeling the sweat trickling down. I am a bit sad that I don't see any obvious difference yet but I know it's only a matter of time and I need to be patient.

So excited! Thank you Lisa!

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
08/04/2012
Hi there! So glad to hear you have started using your Pilates circle. Bravo for you! I would give you a couple of suggestions to help hasten the progress. The first is to put your conscious awareness on the area you want to target and focus on those muscles working. The reason being, other muscles could be doing the bulk of the work which is still good but not necessarily the area you're trying to "wake up" as I call it. The fact is we all have muscle it's just that some people consciously work their muscles a certain way to achieve fitness and sculpting. I say that because that's how I work with my dancers and others whom I've helped get in shape. So, as you're squeezing that circle engage those butt muscles.

Another suggestion, instead of sitting on a stool, lie on the floor and with bent knees, put the circle just above your knees. Now squeeze it and lift your butt, squeezing it as well. Stay up like that while squeezing and then pulse your hips towards the ceiling. Do 20 pulses and then roll down. Repeat. Your results will be quicker, I assure you. I could give you a zillion but this is a good start! Again, good for you! Keep it up! Best to you, Lisa

Replied by Jacquie
Los Angeles, Ca, Usa
09/08/2012
@Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa -- Hi Lisa, Im wondering if its possible to schedule a few private lessons w/you on the weekend to see about improving my slight bow leg condition. I live in LA just outside DTLA, so realisticly speaking, I could only make it out to T. O on the weekend. I just want to be sure Im doing the exercise correctly to be successful in my quest. Best, J
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
09/08/2012
Hi Jacquie, I would be happy to work with you in Pilates. You could call my ballet studio at 805 494-8800 and leave me a message for me to get back to you. I'll wait to hear from you, Lisa
Replied by Battsy
London, Uk
10/31/2012
Hello Lisa I have bow leg especially around little above ankle. Those are too far away from each other. What kind of exercise help me to closer. Thank you very much.
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
10/31/2012
Hi Battsy, I am not sure what you mean by bow legs above your ankles. You will need to explain a bit more. Pretty much, everyone has a space above their ankles. Bow legs usually refer to when the knees don't touch each other. Do you have spaces between your knees as well? If so, then I can help guide you. Are you familiar with Pilates? Let me know. Lisa
Replied by Battsy
London, Uk
11/02/2012
Hello Lisa I wanna show you my leg picture but I don't have your email address. Can you provide me your email address. Thank you, Battsy
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
11/02/2012
Hi Battsy, I really don't want to post my email address up here. If you can explain to me what your leg condition looks like and also how in shape you are, I can most likely help you. Are you familiar at all with Pilates? Also, in the thread this post is on, did you read through its entirety? I give suggestions on what to do for bow legs in Pilates and also websites one can go on to see video. Someone even posted a link for me to see a picture of legs similar to hers so I could help her. Did you look at that? Is it similar to what you are dealing with? I will wait to hear back from you. Wishing you well, Lisa
Replied by Battsy
London, Uk
11/03/2012
Thanks for quick reply Lisa. I understand email spam thing. I will describe my leg shape. My ankle bone joints to the lower leg curved way. You mentioned site picture. Mine is quite similar that lady's leg shape except I don't have much calves. Do you think if I do Pilates for while my those leg curves get straiter?

Pilates work for muscle strength and shape or shape for bone make them straighter? My English not well. Thanks again.

Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
11/03/2012
Hi Battsy, Well, it sounds like you need to do exercises to build your calves. And perhaps, exercises to strengthen the inside of the legs.Pilates incorporates many different exercise to help with both strength and shape of the muscles. You still have not said if you're even familiar with Pilates. Also, what kind of shape are you in? Have you exercised much, not at all, some, etc.? Here is a link for you to watch podcasts of professional Pilates instructors helping people so you can get an idea of what it entails. Of course some of them are using complex Pilates equipment but much can be accomplished with matwork and also simple equipment like the magic circle, a roller and therabands.

http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/community/podcasts.html

If you have further questions, let me know. Hope this helps. Lisa

Replied by Elpis
Berlin
05/28/2013
This is to Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa. I read your replies to the posts as well as your tips. In one of them you defined bowed legs as a space between the knees. My knees don't have a space between them, but the lower legs curve outwards. They look like a not severe case of bow legs to me and they have always bothered me. I read somewhere once about building up the calf muscles focusing on one side (inner legs) to somehow balance out the legs and make the bow legs less visible. I don't know how possible this is and if the results are any good. I took a few pilates classes last year and would love to go on with it. I'm not overweight, not as physically fit as I should be though. Is it possible to build up the calf muscles on one side of the legs only and if so, is it something that is advisable to do? Also on another note, I lost about 8 kg last year, but contrary to a bonus I'd hoped for, my cellulite did not reduce or go away, nope, it gave birth!!! I have more cellulite now than I did before the weight loss... On my thighs. Would doing thigh excercises help get rid of it? Here's a link to where you can see a picture of my legs. I'm standing straight with my knees sort of stretched out straight if you get what I mean. I'll often catch myself standing not as straight and the curved shape of the legs is more pronounced. As you can see on the picture, my ankles are touching and so are my knees. The outer lower leg just curves too far to the oustide for my liking. Sorry, this got longer than I had planned. I hope I made sense.http://b3hindthemask.blogspot.de/
Replied by Tahiti
Silver Spring, Maryland
05/28/2013
Hi! I am the person who made the original post! I saw the picture of your legs and you do not look bowlegged to me! I am very bowlegged and have been for all of my life! I hope you get your reply and that you find a way to continue your Pilates! God bless.
Replied by Naquadaq
Barcelona, Spain
05/31/2013
Lisa, you have given the exercise of squeezing the magic circle to strengthen the adductors but you don't say anything about whether stretching or not after exercising with the magic circle. I practice karate and stretching is very important. I know that in martial arts there are a lot of people with bow legs (me included but I already have them before it). I guess martial artists have weak adductors due to not to keep strength apart from flexibility but my doubt is if stretching is contraproducent for bow legs even having a lot of strength. I'm asking it to you because you have been working with dancers who have corrected the bow legs and as dancers they have to keep large flexibility in adductors. So, it is possible to strengthen the adductors to correct bow legs and keep the flexibility range?

Thank you in advance.







 



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