Skip to main content
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Limb Reconstruction

This site is best viewed with a modern browser. You appear to be using an old version of Internet Explorer.

Limb deformity

There are many reasons and conditions that cause limb deformity:

You can download a patient information leaflet below:

Bone deformity as a result of trauma

Fractures that heal at an odd angle are an example of this. These are called malunions, or malunited fractures.

They do not necessarily cause you any problems in the short term, but can cause problems on the surrounding joints where the 'wear-and-tear' and stress on the joint is not equal across the joint.

A malunion can also give the appearance that the limb is shorter. A malunion in the leg can therefore cause a limp, and may cause problems with back pain due to the tilt when walking or standing.

Conditions causing deformity in bones

Blount's Disease

Blount's Disease may cause bony deformity and bone growth problems.

Hypophosphatemic rickets

Rickets can cause osteomalacia, commonly referred to as 'thinning of the bones' due to the lack of ability to absorb calcium. It can also cause slower bone growth.

Patients with rickets may have severe 'bowing' of the shin bones. This gives the appearance of being of short stature and may cause problems with the surrounding joints long-term.

Acondroplasia

Acondroplasia is a condition that causes short stature. The bones affected are the long bones that make up the arm, leg, fingers and toes.

The patient may have problems achieving their normal daily living activities or may suffer emotional problems due to their lack of height or stature.

Enchondromatosis

Enchondromatosis is the broad title given to a group of conditions that may affect the growth at the ends of bones.

For example:

  • Ollier's disease
  • Dyschondroplasia
  • Maffucci's Syndrome
  • Metaphyseal cChondrodysplasia
  • Multiple echondromatosis

These can affect the growth of the bone during childhood on one or both sides of the same bone. This can cause deformities at the joint itself (on one or both sides of the joint) or may cause shorter limbs.

Missing digits

Some babies are born missing digits (fingers and toes) or are missing complete bones.

Surgery may be able to:

  • improve the function of a hand or foot
  • improve the function of a joint
  • equalise the pressures across a joint.