Where one limb is a different length from the other, it can vary from person to person. The condition is very common and has been noted before that around 70% of people have a difference in lengths of their limbs.
There are two types of leg length differences, actual and functional.
Occurs when the actual length of the limbs is the same, however, the legs appears to be different lengths due to other imbalances such as posture, gluteal imbalance, or unilateral flat foot.
Is when the limbs are anatomically different in length, this means that either one or all the bones that form the leg are longer on one side compared to the other leg.
Generally, leg length discrepancy usually starts in developmental stages in children whether at birth, infancy or adolescence. In some cases the cause may not be identifiable, but can be identified in in other cases. The causes of leg length discrepancy have been identified by various factors which may be congenital, developmental or post-traumatic.
A leg length difference may be a result of:
Signs and symptoms of a leg length difference:
Some people can live all their life with a leg length difference and experience no symptoms. Others may experience symptoms which can vary hugely from person to person and there is no specific symptoms.Some are very visible and some are subtle, there are differences between individuals on the extent and causes of the problem.
The signs and symptoms of a leg length difference may include:
If the difference in leg is 3cms and higher, difference will be easily noticed as the person walks.
If there is a large difference in limb lengths, complications can become severe and result in orthopaedic conditions like chronic lower back pain, scoliosis or arthritis if left untreated.
The patient might experience complication due to contractures of the muscles while having to constantly stand on their toe of the shorter leg for support.
Another complication is that the shorter side of their body is often lowered down and suddenly lifted by the longer side, causing them to have abnormal gait.
The benefit of podiatry assessment and treatment if you have a leg length difference is:
Once a diagnosis of leg length discrepancy has been diagnosed and the cause has been established the following treatment options may be considered, they include:
If a leg length difference is too great for podiatric input, a referral for x ray may be indicated and possible surgical intervention required.
If you have a problem with your foot or lower limb, and you are unsure whether or not podiatry can help you, then why not contact us. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0151 558 0099.
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