Varus deformity

Varus deformity

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Bent or twisted inward toward the midline of the limb or body; modern accepted usage, particularly in orthopedics, erroneously transposes the meaning of valgus to varus, as in genu varum (bow-leg).

Varus deformity

A varus deformity is a deformity of a bone or joint in which the distal end bends inward. The distal end is the end furthest from the point of attachment; for example, the distal end of the femur is the end which connects to the knee, because the femur's point of attachment is at the pelvis. Varus deformities can occur in a number of bones and joints in the body, and they can vary in severity, generally getting worse if they are left untreated. In the opposite situation, a valgus deformity, the distal end of the joint starts to bend outwards.

Varus deformities can be especially common in athletes and dancers. A varus deformity of the foot or knee can be a common problem, as the feet and knees take a great deal of strain. Because athletes and dancers are often encouraged to push through physical pain and to ignore minor symptoms of physical distress, they can make their varus deformities worse by not getting attention early.

A number of things can lead to a varus deformity. Some are congenital malformations which are evident at birth. Others are caused by trauma, such as strain, a poorly healed break, and poor posture. Over time, varus deformities can lead to serious problems, such as strain on accompanying joints, limps, shortening of limbs, and pain. The patient may also feel uncomfortable in social situations as the deformity becomes more noticeable.


Some of the symptoms of varus deformity are:

    Limping of the affected part.

  • Pain in the affected part.

  • Shortening of the limbs.

  • The distal end of the knee is inwardly deviated giving an appearance of bowlegged.


The assessment of natural varus deformities is undertaken when the foot is in sub-talar joint neutral and the patient is non-weightbearing. Functional compensations for these natural deformities are revealed when the foot is fully weightbearing and in contact with the ground.

When the foot moves through the gait cycle, the disruption caused to the degrees and timing of pronation and supination interfere with proper foot function. The effects of this disruption are present not only within the feet, but because of the nature of the closed kinetic chain; compensations occur all the way through the body.

All feet can be categorized into one of three basic types, based on their appearance and altered function during static and dynamic weight-bearing stances.


Treatment for a varus deformity starts with assessment of the patient, which can include a physical exam and medical imaging studies. During the assessment, the doctor will determine the cause of the deformity, and develop a treatment plan. These deformities often require the attention of an orthopedic surgeon who can correct the deformity and apply a cast which will hold the bone or joint in place while it heals. There are various types of surgical procedures which are followed in treating this condition. Some of them are:

    Fibular Osteotomy: It is the procedure in which surgery is performed through a small incersion.

  • Tibial Osteotomy: It is the procedure in which surgery is performed by making an incision longitudinally. In this process, the incision is made along the line of the joint leaving the posterolateral portion of the distal tibia intact.

After surgery, follow up includes several appointments to confirm that the surgery was successful and that proper healing is taking place.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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