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Exercises to Straighten Bow Legs

author image Jason Aberdeene
Jason Aberdeene has been a freelance writer since 2008. His articles have appeared in the "UCSD Guardian" and on various websites, specializing in teen health. An assistant at Kagan Physical Therapy since 2009, Aberdeene has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.
Exercises to Straighten Bow Legs
A woman does yoga on a mat in a studio. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Exercises to straighten bow legs are designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees and upper thighs in an effort to gently change the positioning of your legs over time. While most exercises cannot drastically affect your bow legs, some exercise techniques, such as yoga and pilates, can help improve your posture, reducing the severity of your bow-legged condition. While surgery is usually inevitable for severe cases, manipulative exercises can be effective on children who have been diagnosed with the condition at a very young age.

Massage Therapy Exercises

If your child has bow legs, massage therapy administered by a physical therapist can help straighten his bow legs. During this massage therapy, your therapist will repeatedly move your child's bowed legs back and forth for extended periods of time. These manipulations can be effective in straightening out the legs as they grow. A specific exercise used is a knee bend that you can perform on your child while he is lying down. Lift up one of his legs, bending it at the knee and pushing it straight back toward his chest. Extend it back out and repeat.

Yoga Postures

Yoga postures are designed to improve your body alignment and flexibility. While individuals with bow legs often cannot perform traditional yoga poses, performing poses with props, such as yoga straps, can help you improve your posture and ultimately your bow legs. Before performing any yoga postures, take a yoga strap and wrap it around your legs, binding them together in an effort to strengthen your legs and correct their positioning. While your legs are bound, you can perform certain yoga postures such as cow face and some forward bends.

Leg Strengthening Exercises

Leg strengthening exercises will help strengthen the muscles around your knees, putting less strain on your joints and tendons, which will indirectly help improve your bowed legs. Leg strengthening exercises can only help straighten bow legs if you have a slight bow to your legs. One leg strengthening exercise can be performed by lying flat on an exercise bench. Place a 10-lb. weight between your feet. Bend at the knees, bringing your feet back until the weight hits you in the buttocks. Fully extend your legs and repeat. As you improve, increase the size of the weight you are using.


Pilates, in a similar way to yoga, can help realign your body, strengthening your core muscles and indirectly helping your posture and bow legs. Pilates exercises, such as the roll up and ballerina arms will help you strengthen your abdominal muscles and tone your legs. Lying down on your back and lifting both legs up off the ground, quickly move your legs up and down, keeping them next to each other as you do so. Simultaneously tighten your abdominal muscles, lifting your upper torso slightly off the ground as you breathe in and out quickly. This exercise works both your legs and abdominals.

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