Many people have most likely never thought about whether their legs are equal in length or not and what problems may be caused if they are not even. A 2019 study found that about one and 10 adults have lower limbs that are equal length. The remaining 90% had a difference in like link. This difference is usually less than a centimeter. It’s such a small amount a problem? If so, what can be done to fix it?
The majority of orthopedic surgeons and researchers who study length discrepancy figured out that any discrepancy in length less than 2 cm was irrelevant and did not cause any dysfunction. A more recent study done by authors affiliated with the department of orthopedic surgery in New York City found that discrepancies which are greater than 2 cm could alter bio mechanics and loading patterns. These lead to compensatory pelvic and leveling and scoliosis. If the length is not corrected, it can lead to permanent arthritic changes in the facet joints and discs in the lumbar spinal area. The review did not go over leg length discrepancy less than 2 cm, but other studies are beginning to review this.
A review done in 2017 found a significant relationship between anatomic leg length discrepancy and gait deviation, usually in those with leg length discrepancy greater than 1 cm. Researchers discovered that compensatory changes happened both in the long and short leg as well as through the lower limb with sagittal plane deviations which are the most common compensation. The frontal plane compensations occur in the pelvis, hip, and the foot in the presence of even a small leg length discrepancy.
One last study found that leg length discrepancy is a significant and important risk factor which creates excessive abnormal mechanical joint loading. This can lead to premature osteoarthritis in the knee, hip, and lumbar spine. The specific study focused on leg length discrepancy less than 2 cm and studied the accuracy of different methods used to measure leg length discrepancy.
Chiropractors will assess leg length and patients, specially if the patient presents with me, hip, and low back pain. Leg length discrepancy is identified. I can usually be corrected with heel lifts., Combined heel lifts, and foot orthotics. Balancing the spine and pelvis is part of what chiropractors do. As time goes on the importance of like length discrepancy is now reaching other healthcare professions. Because of this leg length discrepancy treatments are becoming more accurate.
If you are suffering in pain, we can help. Through chiropractic, physical therapy and other treatment options, we have many options to help you. Schedule an appointment today or call us (908) 325-3000