X-legs - causes, therapy and symptoms

X-legs - causes, therapy and symptoms / symptoms
So-called X-legs are a misalignment of the knee between upper and lower leg, more precisely, an axial deformity on the knee joint, in which the lower leg deviates outwards. Those affected often find this as unaesthetic, but the malposition can also have health consequences since the knee joint is more strained than usual.


  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Knick-flat feet
  • Acquired X-legs
  • diagnosis
  • therapy
  • rickets
  • A mass phenomenon of early capitalism
  • Children Bone Disease
  • Bent legs and ball belly
  • Cod liver oil and UV rays
  • poliomyelitis

Vitamin D deficiency

Contrary to popular belief, X-legs are rarely congenital, but sometimes they are promoted by a congenital weakness of the connective tissue. Possible causes include, for example, a rickets or polio caused by vitamin D deficiency.

So-called X-legs are not only unpleasant from an aesthetic point of view, they can also lead to follow-on complaints. (Image: MichaelJBerlin / fotolia.com)

Knick-flat feet

More often, X-legs are caused by deformity of the toddler's feet. So many children have slight X-legs, but grow together in aging. A widespread misalignment is the so-called kink-Senkfuß. Here, the foot is slightly bent outwards and lies so flat on the ground that the padding of the foot does not interfere. Overall, the legs are now not in the optimal position to the knee, the lower leg acts on the knee, and the growth of the legs suffers.

Acquired X-legs

Acquired X-Legs can have a whole host of other causes. Obesity puts strain on the knees and can lead to misalignment of the legs; Disorders in the hormone balance are also possible. Tumors can also cause X-legs, especially if they are in the leg bones and in the knee. After the menopause, the bones often become brittle - this too can lead to malpositions. In addition, inflammation in the knee and legs are possible triggers. Furthermore, leg malalignment may also develop as a result of osteoarthritis. Very rarely is also Ärztepfusch the cause of X-legs.


The diagnosis of pronounced X-legs is simple at first: they can be seen at a glance. In the meantime X-rays help with light X-legs. The symptoms are also indicative of the deformity. Sufferers often suffer from inflammation of the knee and in advanced stages of arthrosis.

Important: An orthopedist can detect early on a misalignment of the feet, whether a child runs the risk of developing X-legs. In this preliminary stage, healing is possible without much effort.

As a rule, the diagnosis "X-legs" can already be made on the basis of an external examination. X-ray examinations can be used to detect already existing joint damage. (Image: Minerva Studio / fotolia.com)


X-legs in the growth phase rarely need to be treated. Many doctors strongly advise against splints or even childhood surgery. Lightweight acquired X legs can also be alleviated by physical training. Those affected learn to roll over the outside of their feet as they walk, then over the entire ball and big toe.

However, if the axis deviates more than 20 degrees during puberty, sometimes surgery is inevitable. The doctor then removes, for example, a small piece of the bone and corrects the malposition. Or the growth joint is stiffened by a rail, even then the leg can not continue to grow wrong.

Slight misalignments can be corrected by inserts in the shoes, which reinforce the inside under the foot and load the knee joint in the outer direction.


Rickets is a disease in which the bones soften and deform, and whose cause our ancestors did not know. The disease was already described in England in the 17th century and was considered a disease of the fine people. At that time, it was mainly high society that got the disease: the poor, if they did not work in the mining industry, worked outdoors and got enough vitamin D. The aristocracy, however, defined itself by not having to work physically and put value, with a pale one To demonstrate skin color. Therefore, their skin did not absorb enough sunlight, insufficient vitamin D was formed, and rickets developed by the deficiency.

A mass phenomenon of early capitalism

The industrial revolution made vitamin D deficiency and thus rickets a mass phenomenon - especially among children. Children were preferred in mines because they fit in the narrow studs. In addition came miserable hygiene and completely inadequate nutrition, which weakened the body. Some of these buried child slaves did not see sunshine for weeks in the winter and pulled the coal carts for up to twelve hours a day.

Children Bone Disease

At that time, rickets were called "children's bone disease". Affected infants had "pits" on the back of the head, because the skull bones and a widened hydrocephalus (water head). When the disease progressed, the skull rounded itself off, losing its longitudinal oval shape and looking like a ball. The base of the skull rose through its softening, and the entire skull sank down. A typical symptom was a hydrocephalus with increased intracranial pressure and an exceptionally wide face.

Bent legs and ball belly

The sufferers were bent legs of the legs (usually O-legs, but also X-legs) and it developed a ball belly. The ribcage deformed and the spine became crooked, as did knees and joints. In the second year of life, the body weight was so strong on the soft bones that the femoral neck lowered. The internal structure of the bones was rotten and incomplete, the hips without strength, the abdominal muscles could not work without the hips, and the sufferers suffered from chronic constipation.

Due to the pull of the diaphragm on the soft rib cage, a "chicken breast" or "funnel chest" was created. The wrists swelled, especially the ends of the forearm bones - the growth zones. The distance between the neck and shoulders was shortened by the diseased cervical spine. In the end, the bones of the children broke regularly.

In 1822, the Polish doctor Sniadecki recognized that farm children were less likely to suffer from rickets than those in Warsaw. In the late 19th century, Theodore Palm, a missionary, also observed that children near the equator did not get rickets and already suspected sunbathing as a potential cure and prevention strategy.

After the discovery that vitamin D deficiency is the trigger for rickets, the symptoms were successfully restrained. (Image: Zerbor / fotolia.com)

Cod liver oil and UV rays

In 1918, Sir Edward Mellanby successfully cured dog rickets by feeding them exclusively with oatmeal and keeping them indoors without sun, while curing rachitic dogs with cod liver oil - the food that contains the most vitamin D. This cod-liver oil was then known as a remedy for blindness and bone fractures.

McCollum realized that the antirachitic effect in cod liver oil was a new substance and gave her the name vitamin D. Hudshinsky discovered that sun healed children with rickets. Steenbock and Black noted in 1924 that UV-exposed food could also cure rickets, leading to the great realization that UV light was able to transform a substance stored in food and skin into another form. The findings suggested a close relationship between sun exposure and vitamin D. In Germany rickets, thanks to sufficient vitamin D is very rare.


Poliomyelitis has almost disappeared globally thanks to vaccines. Polio can lead to X-legs because the virus also attacks the nerves, and even more specifically the nerves leading to the bones. However, when the muscles no longer have transmitters to the brain, they can not be moved - they become limp and result in misalignment of the legs. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Specialist supervision: Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch (doctor)