Infantile Blount’s disease

Keywords Blount’s disease, tibia vara, genu varum, recurrence, obesity


Infantile Blount’s disease results in multi-planar proximal tibial deformity consisting of varus, procurvatum, internal rotation and shortening. The deformity is attributed to disordered growth of the posteromedial proximal tibial physis.

The aetiology is multifactorial. It is associated with childhood obesity and African ethnicity. The ability to differentiate between infantile Blount’s disease and physiological bowing depends on the findings of focused clinical examination, X-ray appearance, tibial metaphyseal-diaphyseal angle and tibial epiphyseal-metaphyseal angle.

The gold standard of treatment is proximal tibial metaphyseal corrective osteotomy before the age of 4 years. The limb should be realigned to physiological valgus.

The recurrence rate after realignment osteotomy is high. Recurrence is associated with age at osteotomy, obesity, higher Langenskiöld stage and medial physeal slope ≥60°.

The surgical management of severe, recurrent or neglected infantile Blount’s disease is challenging. Comprehensive clinical examination and multi-planar deformity analysis with standing long leg X-rays are essential to identify all aspects of the deformity. Distal femur coronal malalignment and significant rotational deformity should be excluded. Knee instability due to intra-articular deformity should be corrected by elevation of the medial tibial plateau.

Lateral epiphysiodesis should be done at the same time as medial plateau elevation and when medial growth arrest is certain to prevent recurrence.

Level of evidence: Level 5

Author Biographies

P H Maré, University of KwaZulu-Natal

MBChB, FCOrth(SA); Head Clinical Unit: Paediatric Orthopaedics, Grey’s Hospital, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

D M Thompson, University of KwaZulu-Natal

MBChB, FCS(Glasgow); Specialist orthopaedic surgeon, Grey’s Hospital, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine,
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

How to Cite
MARÉ, P H; THOMPSON, D M. Infantile Blount’s disease. South African Orthopaedic Journal, [S.l.], v. 19, n. 3, p. 173-182, aug. 2020. ISSN 2309-8309. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 sep. 2020.
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