Background: Though there is an impression that proximal femoral varus osteotomy (FVO) can result in a valgus deformity at the knee there is no agreement on this issue. This study was undertaken to ascertain whether a FVO predisposes to the development of genu valgum in children with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD). Methods: One hundred and one children with unilateral LCPD who underwent a FVO during the active stage of the disease and 32 children who were treated non-operatively were followed till skeletal maturity. The FVO was performed with a 20° varus angulation in all the patients and weight-bearing was not permitted till the stage of reconstitution. The alignment of the knee was assessed clinically at skeletal maturity. A subset of 33 operated children also had full length standing radiographs of the limbs. The mechanical axis deviation, femur-tibial angle, lateral distal femoral angle and the medial proximal tibial angle of both limbs were measured on these radiographs. Results: The frequency of clinically appreciable mal-alignment of the knee was not greater on the affected side in patients who had undergone FVO when compared to the unaffected limb and also when compared to the affected limb in non-operated patients. The mechanical axis of the lower limb of operated children was relatively in more valgus than that of normal limbs but they fell within the normal range. Conclusion: This study does not support the impression that a proximal femoral osteotomy for LCPD predisposes to clinically discernable degrees of genu valgum in children who have had 20° of varus angulation at the osteotomy site and who have avoided weight-bearing for a prolonged period following surgery. Further studies are needed to clarify if genu valgum would develop if early post-operative weight-bearing is permitted. Level of evidence: III.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine