Physiologic Leg Bowing is not a Physiologic Condition but Instead is Associated with Vitamin D Disorders in Toddlers

Yuko Sakamoto, Muneaki Ishijima, Satoshi Nakano, Mitsuyoshi Suzuki, Lizu Liu, Akifumi Tokita, Sung-Gon Kim, Toshiaki Shimizu, Kazuo Kaneko, Masahiko Nozawa
Calcified Tissue International 2020, 106 (2): 95-103
When children around 2-year-old show leg bowing without lower-limb radiographic abnormalities for rickets, the leg bowing is classified as "physiologic" genu varum without conducting a blood test. However, it has recently been suggested that toddlers who are diagnosed with physiologic genu varum may in fact have some form of bone metabolic disorder. In this 1:2 case-control study, blood samples were obtained from 33 toddlers with genu varum without radiographic abnormalities for rickets and 66 age- and gender-matched healthy children. Serum alkaline phosphatase (sALP), intact parathyroid hormone (siPTH), 25-hydroxy vitamin D [s25(OH)D], calcium (sCa), and inorganic phosphate (sP) were measured. s25(OH)D of the subjects with genu varum (24.8 ng/ml) were significantly lower than those of the control (33.6 ng/ml) (p < 0.001). The frequency of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency (< 20 ng/ml) of the subjects with genu varum (39%) was significantly higher than that in the control (14%) (p = 0.004) (odds ratio by vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency: 4.1 [1.5-11.1, p = 0.004]). sCa in subjects with genu varum (10.2 ng/ml) were significantly higher than in control (9.8 ng/ml) (p < 0.001), as were sALP (1057 IU/l) and siPTH (28.4 pg/ml) (740 IU/l and 8.8 pg/ml in control, respectively; p < 0.001). siPTH levels were associated with s25(OH)D levels in subjects with genu varum (r = - 0.57, p < 0.001), while no association was observed in the control (r = 0.11, p = 0.36). Genu varum without radiographic abnormalities of rickets was associated with both vitamin D and bone-metabolic disorders in toddlers, indicating that physiologic genu varum is not a physiologic condition in toddlers.

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