Have you been told that one leg is longer or shorter than the other?

By October 4, 2013No Comments

It’s rare to actually have on leg shorter than the other. This is the difference between an apparent leg length discrepancy and a true leg length discrepancy. This condition is quite common and must be treated correctly.

If you really have a shorter leg here are a few reasons why:

  • Born with it
  • Broke your leg at a young age over a growth plate and disrupted the normal growth of the bone
  • Disease of the bone
  • Joint replacement surgery of the hip or knee making the opposite leg appear shorter

If you have an apparent leg length discrepancy, which is more common, the leg can be longer or shorter because of a rotation in the bone called the ilium.

Common reasons for a shorter leg are:

  • Falling on your bottom, more on one side.  The leg on that side will appear shorter.  If you fall on both sides of the buttocks, both legs will be even but equally shorter because both iliac bones will have shifted up when you landed on your ishial tuberositites (sit bones)
  • Breaking hard when driving. The force can cause the ilia to rotate or slip up creating a shorter leg on the right side.
  • Using crutches or a cane for a period of time for another leg injury. The hip will naturally hike up to compensate creating a shorter leg.
  • Walking along and unexpectedly missing a step coming down on your heel hard, creating a shorter leg
  • Lifting incorrectly, bent over and turned to either the left or right side while lifting can create a shift in lumbar vertebrae and the sacral bone which can create an imbalance in the ilia ( these three bones come together in the back creating the two dimples called the sacroiliac joints or SI joints)
  • Pregnancy and breast feeding when the ligaments are loose  it’s easy for the pelvis to rotate
  • Incorrect sitting, especially if you sit with on leg under the bum or have a large wallet in your back pocket

Common reasons one leg can appear longer:

  • Bungie jumping, years ago they use to strap you around the ankles
  • Falling off a horse with one leg caught in the stirrup
  • Tackled by another person grabbing you around the pelvis and pulling your body to the ground, common sports injury

 

What to do?

The first step is to have a physiotherapist measure your legs, the upper leg bone (femur) or the lower leg bone (tibia) to determine if you in fact have asymmetrical leg lengths. A common mistake is when one leg looks longer or shorter and then a lift is inserted into your shoe under the short leg to make them appear equal when you are standing and walking.  It’s important to NOT get a lift in your shoe unless you know that you really have a short leg. This will cause more problems and the imbalance is easily corrected with an adjustment, soft tissue massage, stretching and learning how to train correctly.

Common Symptoms

  • Buttock pain
  • Sciatica
  • Low back pain
  • Difficulty bending forward and backward
  • Difficulty getting out of a chair
  • Hamstring tightness
  • Back stiffness
  • Hip pain and or stiffness
  • Pubic joint pain
  • Knee pain
  • General leg pains

Please contact us on 2167 7305 or email info@thebodygroup.com to set up an appointment.

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