You are at the tailor having your pants altered when the tailor informs you of the discrepancy in your leg length or, if you go to a bad tailor, they may measure one leg only and you notice the difference when you wear your pants for the first time. What is going on? Did the tailor make a mistake or are your legs really two different lengths?
One of the myths that seem to have become fact is that everyone has different length legs. Yes, it may not be exact to the faction of inch (or millimeter), but from a “macro” perspective your legs should be fairly equal. Most people do not ever realize that there is a discrepancy. If the length difference is causing problems, our podiatrists can help.
At Shenandoah Podiatry we can measure the limbs in two different ways. We will take a measurement with our patient lying down; this measures the actual lengths of the bones, without any soft tissue involvement or input from issues such as scoliosis. It is known as the structural limb length. We will also find the functional limb length by taking a measurement while the patient is standing and with input from all structures.
Limb length difference can cause pain and injury in various ways. Most commonly, however, the pain is limited to one side. The pain can be experienced in the feet and ankles, knees, hips, or lower back. Symptoms can be felt in the upper back and neck because the difference in limb length affects the shoulders as well. Regardless of the location of pain, it is caused by the overuse of muscles and soft tissues that are forced to work harder than usual. When there is a difference in limb length, the long limb will try and shorten itself by the foot pronating, while the short limb will try to make itself functionally longer by supinating. This causes an imbalance which leads to the injury.
How can we treat your limb length discrepancy? Sometimes it is as simple as placing a lift under the short limb. Other times, physical therapy is needed to rehabilitate the soft tissue. You have tried both of those? Sometimes you need a custom molded orthotic to best control the abnormal motions.
Our patients are often surprised at how quickly we can heal their lower extremity pain with these options. Schedule your appointment today with Remember, we are here to keep you going!