Limb deformity can occur in the upper or lower extremities from congenital defects or during growth. Deformities may also arise from trauma, infection, tumors or medical conditions. Some of the conditions that can cause limb problems in a child or young adult also include: osteogenesis imperfecta, bow legs, knock knees, neurofibromatosis, arthritis, infections and tumors in the bone, and injuries involving the growth center of the bone. There may also be deformities of the soft tissues.
The symptoms of limb deformity vary. Sometimes it’s just a mild difference in the appearance of a leg or arm. Other times there is a major loss of function like a limp or diminished range of motion.
Diagnosis of limb deformity will include a thorough physical examination and medical history. Various tests may be ordered, from detailed imaging to blood and urine tests that screen for additional problems.
Non-surgical intervention could include a program of physical therapy and bracing. Surgery may involve pinning, external or internal stabilization. Addressing limb deformity is often a long process that requires dedication from the patient and family.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 5, 2018