Monday, 23 March 2015

Why Japanese Females Have Bowlegs




Have you ever noticed how a large number of young Asian women — and some men — tend to have crooked lower legs that curve outward? Well, you're not the first to inquire about such peculiarity. People are actually asking this same question all over the Internet. 
And this is what I found.


Bowlegs is a condition in which the knees stay wide apart when a person stands with their feet and ankles together. Some cases are more extreme than others, normally forcing the person to walk in a strange way.

Medically speaking, Bow-leggedness is called Genu Varum — also known as Bandiness, Bandy-leg, and Tibia Vara; and it is a physical deformity marked by outward bowing of the lower leg in relation to the thigh, giving the appearance of an archer's bow. Usually a medial angulation of both femur — the thigh bone — and the tibia — the larger of the two leg bones located below the knee cap — is involved.

Because of their folded position in the mother's womb, being mildly bowlegged is considered normal in infants below 18 months old. As the child starts to walk and the legs begin to bear weight, the legs are usually straightened, resolving the issue without any type of bracing or treatment.

However, the condition may persist if the child is in poor health; mainly if sick with rickets (bone disorder caused by vitamin D deficiency) or suffering from any ailment that prevents the due ossification of the bones, or is improperly fed. Once older than three and a half years old and the legs and still notably crooked, then treatment is advised.


But why Japan? Well, bow-leggedness

 is particularly found in Japan where it is believed that 90% of women are bowlegged. According to a Japanese folklorist, Kunio Yanagida, in Japanese culture the crooked legs were once “known as beautiful woman's attraction” and seen as cute. The same idea behind China’s foot binding — a cultural symbol of femininity.

Is it still considered attractive?

It is believed that the origin may have stemmed from the days of wearing kimonos, since it's easier to walk in them if you turn the toes slightly inward. “That also produces what has long been considered a graceful, attractive gait.

According to other popular theories, bowlegs could result from how girls sit on the floor as children; either with both legs bent outwards at the knees (called Onnanoko-zuwari in Japanese) or seiza, which is sitting on the heels with bent knees. Though for now, these ideas remain but theories.

The condition is also common in some other Asian countries, but perhaps not as widespread as in Japan. This confirms how frequently I have seen this phenomenon, mainly in the streets and subways of Canada and the U.S.



The legs of the girl you see in the video here is referred to as “X legs”. It is when the knees are naturally inverted, causing the person to walk like a duck. A Japanese blogger said, they look like they need to pee...badly. The much more common in Asians, and in general, are the “O legs,” which are also arched but not as drastically. 


Correction of leg curvature

Fortunately, bowlegs can be treated in children and in adults. Anthropometric cosmetology is the medical practice science of correction and modification of deformities in the upper and lower extremities of the body. It is used to fix the X-shaped curvature of the legs as well as the O-shaped curvature. It can also be used in cases of relative shortening of the legs relative to body length.

Anthropometric cosmetology is done either to attain an aesthetically pleasing appearance or to eliminate physical and psychological discomforts. Though the severe cases of bow-leggedness can worsen quickly if not treated early enough. Treatment for children is typically braces, but also surgery may be necessary, especially for teens. The operation consists of taking a piece of tibia out, breaking the fibula, and straightening out the bone. There is also the option of slightly elongating the legs.


There are apparently other less professional ways to fix the ‘X’ and the ‘O’ shapes in legs. One of those natural treatments are the Japanese Ashi-yubi Shiikuretto Ringu” (Toe secret ring). Wearing this ring is supposed to help center the weight of the body. Because if you have bowlegs or your pelvis is distorted, your balance is spread outside. So the rings not only fixes the posture and straighten the legs, but it can also make one lose weight.


Another advertised treatment for O legs / X legs is a straightening correction band sold online for $22.


Even though treatments for bowlegs are available, many people choose not to do it because they could be costly. However, in extreme cases like in the featured video, walking this way for years damages the pelvis bone among other things. Due to uneven stress and wear on the knees, it usually leads to more complications, such as accelerated onset of arthritis. As a matter of fact, those with bowlegs and a genetic predisposition for developing arthritis will likely start having arthritic symptoms around the age of 30.


One related condition to bowleggedness is Genu valgum, commonly called “Knock-Knees. And it is when the knees angle in and touch one another when the legs are straightened. It is the opposite of bow-leggedness, one could say. Beginning around two years of age it is common to see children's legs become knock-kneed.

Both bowed legs and knock-knees are a part of normal development. As the child grows, the legs gradually straighten. Usually by 10 years of age, the legs are straight.


Another condition is the Pigeon toe — also known as Metatarsus varus, Metatarsus adductus, In-toe gait, Intoeing or False Clubfoot — which causes the toes to point inward when walking. It is most common in infants and children under two years of age. Though in my case, it remained through my mid-teens.

I actually think that the girl in the video may be bowlegged AND pigeon-toed. That's like having dyslexia and being crossed-eyed. Sorry, I couldn't help it.


Oh well, now you know a few things about legs...and Japanese schoolgirls.



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5 comments:

  1. I am Asian and I have slightly curved lower leg bones...the thought of breaking bones and stuff, ugh, I just can't even think about it. Other types of surgeries, I'm sure I could stomach with little to no fear but bones are another thing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Slightly is completely fine. Many people live all their lives with no visible problems. Breaking the bones, though, is only required in the more advanced cases.

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