Call Us: 1300 975 980

HIPS

Limb Length Discrepancy

A limb length discrepancy is a condition that occurs when one leg is shorter than the other. The discrepancy can either be structural, functional or a combination of both and can vary anywhere between 4mm to 60mm. Limb length discrepancies 20mm or more are usually problematic resulting in compensatory posture and walking patterns.

Causes

Structural (actual) discrepancy occurs when:

  • Either the upper (femur) or lower (tibia) bone in one leg is actually shorter than that of the other leg.

Structural discrepancies can result from a growth plate injury during childhood or adolescence, fractures, or genetic and acquired conditions that affect bone growth. Some fractures can lead to overgrowth of bone during the healing process, resulting in longer than normal bone. Knee or hip replacement can result in a leg length discrepancy.

Functional (apparent) discrepancy usually occurs as a result of:

  • Muscular weakness or inflexibility, at the pelvis or foot and ankle.

Over a number of years, one side of the spine, and muscle structure supporting it, may develop more strongly than the other resulting in scoliosis. Overuse of one side such as sleeping or carrying items on one side; or lifting suitcases or carrying children to one side.

Symptoms:

  • Head tilt and shoulder drop, often toward longer leg.
  • Iliotibial band friction syndrome (pain on the outside or lateral part of the knee).
  • Piriformis syndrome (buttock pain that pain runs down the back of the leg).
  • Asymmetrical arm swing.
  • One leg is obviously shorter than the other.
  • Pelvis higher on the longer side.
  • Gait problems, such as limping, toe-walking, or rotation of the leg.
  • A knee that’s chronically hyper extended on the short side and flexed on the long side.
  • Pain in the back hip, knee, foot, and/or ankle.
  • Symptoms affecting the lower limb that has a structural discrepancy usually appear first on the long leg side and include buttock pain, arthritis of the knee or hip, patellar tendonitis, patellofemoral pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis, medial tibial stress syndrome or metatarsalgia.
  • Symptoms of the short leg include iliotibial band friction syndrome with lateral knee pain, trochanteric bursitis, sacroiliac discomfort, Achilles tendonitis and cuboid syndrome.
  • If the patient just has a functional Leg Length Discrepancy, the symptoms will usually appear on the short side first and include plantar fasciitis, medial tibial stress syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome, ipsilateral sacroiliac discomfort with contralateral low back pain, and secondary psoasitis.

At Mint Foot Care, we diagnose this condition by taking a comprehensive history, performing a leg measurement, biomechanical assessment and video gait analysis. The podiatrist may prescribe diagnostic imaging such as X-Rays and/or a CT scan.

Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including:

  • Proper fitting and supportive footwear recommendations with an external heel raise if the discrepancy is greater than 20mm.
  • Custom made orthotic therapy – orthotics may be prescribed to address any biomechanical factors such as over pronation.
  • Heel lifts.
  • Prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises.

CALL US TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT OR BOOK ONLINE NOW.

Latest News

  • UNCATEGORIZED

    Holiday Closure

    We are taking a mini break. Hold tight we will be back on Wednesday 22 August 2018

    Date:6 August 9, 2018
  • SPORTS

    Cold vs Heat Therapy

    Cold vs heat therapy, which one is best for your injury? Cold therapy often called cryotherapy is the use of ice. Ice should be applied immediately after an injury has occurred. Ice will numb pain, reduce inflammation and bruising of the injured area due to vasoconstriction of the blood vessels. This is most effective when done within […]

    Date:6 June 5, 2018
  • SPORTS

    Lower Limb Injuries in Rugby League

    Rugby league is a high speed and quick change of direction game with high impact collisions. There is constant change in acceleration and deceleration, direction, pace with quick stops and starts. Due to the amount of body contact as well as high speeds of impact in tackles, injuries to the lower limbs account for over […]

    Date:6 March 18, 2018
  • FOOTWEAR

    Do Your Shoes Pass the Healthy Shoe Checklist?

    Do Your Shoes Pass the Healthy Shoe Checklist? Footwear plays a key role in the development of foot and toe problems such as bunions, calluses, corns and plantar fasciitis. These conditions can be prevented or the progression reduced by wearing good fitting and supportive footwear. Since our feet come in all different shapes and sizes […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017
  • BONE

    STRESS FRACTURES

    WHAT IS A STRESS FRACTURE? A stress fracture is an incomplete crack in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by repeated stress or repetitive activity over a period, weakening the bone. Stress fractures are common in runners and athletes who participate in soccer, basketball and people who change their activities such as by trying a […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017
  • FOOTWEAR

    Effects of high heels on feet

    Effects of high heels on feet High heels dominate the fashion industry. They give women more confidence and empowerment by elongating and accentuating the legs, increasing height and drawing attention from both men and women. However, high heels not only cause chronic foot problems, but can also lead to common complaints like leg and back […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017