Coxa Vara Explored

A deformity in which an inward curvature of the hip takes place where the angle between the upper femur and ball joint is reduced and the femoral neck shaft angle is less than 120-135°. This causes pain, stiffness, and results in one leg being shorter than the other, resulting in a limp that can make walking a very difficult task.

Diagnosis - Coxa Vara can be diagnosed by X-Ray.
Symptoms - stiffness, pain, difference in leg length, resulting in a limp and difficulty walking.

  The Types of Coxa Vara

The way in which Coxa Vara occurs typically falls into one of three categories: It can either be congenital, developmental, or acquired. Congenital Coxa Vara (CCV) is present at birth, and believed to be the result of either embryonic abnormalities or possibly the result of certain intrauterine conditions or mechanical stresses that could affect the way in which the hip forms. The developmental form of Coxa Vara presents itself during early childhood and seems to follow a progressive pattern that continues as the child develops. Acquired forms of the condition can also come as the result of an injury such as a fracture or other traumatic event to the hip.

  Occurrence of Coxa Vara

Coxa Vara is a rare disease. Estimates for Congenital Coxa Vara suggest the occurrence ranges from 1 in 13,000 to 1 in 25,000 people. Based on an estimated average of 300 million people living in the U.S., this suggests that the estimated number of people in the U.S. who suffer from Congenital Coxa Vara ranges from 12,000 to about 23,000. The disease seems just as likely to affect either gender and seems to occur on either side of the body without prejudice.

  Treatment for Coxa Vara

The general consensus for treating symptomatic or progressive Congenital Coxa Vara is with surgery. Surgery allows for the reconstructing of the neck shaft angle to make for a more normal and balanced structure. Some recommend that in cases where surgery is needed, that it be done so while the child is still younger rather than older as many believe there is a greater chance for the hip to completely remodel with the newly set structure. Others suggest that waiting until the child is older allows there to be more solid bone to work with. There is no clear universal answer for when surgery should be performed. Each case will be different and every doctor will have his or her own suggestions to follow regarding when surgery should take place, if at all.

Following surgery, a hip cast is put in place until radiographs indicate that healing has begun. This usually takes place after about 2 months, during which time the patient should remain in a non-standing position that does not put weight or stress on the hips. Once the cast is removed and the hip has demonstrated that it is healing properly, physical therapy can be used to ensure that range of motion is properly restored.

Virtual Surgery: Hip Replacement
Virtual Surgery: Hip Resurfacing

  Photographs of Coxa Vara

"Congenital Coxa Vara" Letts, Robert Mervyn MD, FRCSC, FACSC. April 16, 2003.

"Coxa Vara" Online Article Updated November 2, 2006.


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