I play association football since a very young age. Now I notice that when I stand my knees don't really touch each other, which seems to be a typical symptom of bow legs (Genu Varum). Also, I'm a right-footed player, and I notice that now I tend to walk on the outside of my right foot/walk with my right foot pointing outwards with an angle larger than that of my left foot. When I watch football matches, I notice that this situation seems to be even more extreme in some professional players, i.e. when they're lying naturally on the ground they have their playing foot pointing outward much more than the other foot.

Has there been any study/research on this topic? Because when I search the web I find surprisingly little information on it. I suspect maybe my bow legs also have a genetic component to it but I'm not sure how much my football activities have had an influence on it. If it's true that football exacerbates bow legs, should I stop playing football? Or is there some other advice to alleviate the situation.

1 Answer 1


It looks they are relevant according to these two researches:



Both soccer players and controls had genu varum. However, the incidence of genu varum was higher in the soccer players (P = 0.0001) and it was more prevalent in the 16-18 year age group (P = 0.0001). The results revealed a statistically significant association between the degree of practices and the prevalence of genu varum (P = 0.0001). Moreover, previous trauma to the knees and practicing in load-bearing sports led to an increase in the degree of genu varum (P = 0.0001).



Little is known about the relationship between sport participation and body adaptations during growth. Our aim was to investigate whether soccer participation in youth is associated with the degree of genu varum. The design was a retrospective cohort study. Three hundred and thirty-six male soccer players, and 458 male non-soccer players (aged from 8 to 18) were recruited and included in the study. The intercondylar (IC) or intermalleolar (IM) distance were clinically measured with a specifically designed instrument. The results of this study revealed a statistically significant increase in degree of genu varum in both groups from the age of 14. However, at the age of 16-18 years a significant higher degree of genu varum was observed in the soccer players compared to the non-soccer players (P = 0.028). Intense soccer participation increases the degree of genu varum in males from the age of 16. Since genu varum predisposes to injuries, efforts to reduce the development of genu varum in male soccer players are warranted.

  • While this is a good answer, it could be improved by an explanation, rather than a couple of links with copy/paste highlighting.
    – JohnP
    May 21, 2016 at 0:58

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