Leg Length Discrepancy
Leg length discrepancy is the difference in lengths of an individual’s legs. This difference may be anatomical or may be due to scoliosis, trauma/injury, arthritis, overpronation (collapse) of one foot, bowing of one leg or unequal bowing, surgery (hip or knee replacement), pelvic tilting or ageing. The difference can also be functional caused by differing forces of the soft tissues, such as weakness in muscle tissue on one side, or a weakness/tightness in joint tissue. A difference in leg lengths also results when running on indoor banked tracks, beaches and banked streets and side walks (for drainage). Many people have a measurable difference in their leg lengths which is compensated for by their bodies. As we age this compensation does not work as well. An x-ray and physical measurements will define the discrepancy and the adjustment needed.
Back pain along with pain in the foot, knee, leg and hip on one side of the body are the main complaints. There may also be limping or head bop down on the short side or uneven arm swinging. The knee bend, hip or shoulder may be down on one side, and there may be uneven wear to the soles of shoes (usually more on the longer side).
- Heel lift – Raises the heel on the shorter leg. It is applied either to the heel of the custom orthotic or to the inside of the shoe under the insole at the heel
- Generally if the discrepancy is greater than 3/8 of an inch, the modification is applied externally on the footwear.
- Custom made orthotics – Help to provide proper support and alignment to the foot, controlling conditions such as over pronation.
- Orthopedic Footwear – properly fitted – to which a lift might be applied inside or out.
- Stretching/flexibility exercises
- Chiropractic or physiotherapy treatment
- Alternating directions when running on banked/uneven surfaces.