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The terms valgus and varus are both related to each other, but they are opposite as well. For example in orthopedics, the varus refers to the inward bending of the distal segment of the bone or joint, whereas the valgus alignment is the outward bending of the knee. The deformities that can form in both the valgus and varus can cause serious complications with bending of the legs and knees. The varus is also called a bow legged condition while the valgus is known as being knock kneed. These alignments could cause severe consequences and may be the basis for the osteoarthritis in some cases.
A varus deformity causes the load bearing axis of the knee to shift towards the inside, which puts extra pressure on the legs and destabilizes the mechanical system of the movements of the legs and joints. If it gets serious, it could also contribute to difficulties in walking due to the soreness of the unnatural movements, especially in people who are overweight. A varus deformity increases the chances of osteoarthritis in these people, which does not mean that only overweight people at a higher risk for arthritis, it just means that their chances are much higher of obtaining it.
The other kind, which is valgus alignment, does the opposite of what the varus does. It shifts the load bearing axis of the knee outward, causing great pressure on the outer portion of the knee. Although a valgus deformity is not considered as destructive as the varus version, it still is very harmful and causes several defects. It has been shown to negatively affect the ligaments, subchondral bones and the articular cartilage. The chances of osteoarthritis are greater in both alignments; valgus and varus.
Both of these deformities can be extremely dangerous if they are not taken treated right from the start, and they can cause permanent damage to the ligaments and muscles around the joints. The valgus and varus alignments could be the basis for bone and structural problems within the knee, and common leg problems as well. In order to avoid the difficulties associated with valgus and varus deformities, try to keep weight at as normal of a level as possible. There are a few recommended therapies that are effective for both alignment problems, and in some cases, if there is no other solution, surgery is performed as a last resort in an attempt to repair these alignments.