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

    What Makes PACT Nail Treatment So Effective?

    Fungal nail infections can be incredibly frustrating to deal with, especially because of the incredibly long amount of time that needs to be endured while waiting for nails to healthily grow back. Oral medications are far from benign and often put patients at risk of a range of side effects. Because of this, many people […]

    Date:6 May 16, 2019
  • UNCATEGORIZED

    The Most Common Home Remedies for Nail Fungus – and Why They Don’t Always Work

    If you’ve recently developed nail fungus, you may be tempted to try various home remedies to get rid of it. But like other home remedies, the effectiveness of these DIY treatments for nail fungus often varies, depending on the severity of your nail fungus and your toenail’s condition. And in many cases, they may not […]

    Date:6 May 16, 2019
  • NEWS AND EVENTS

    Easter Closure

    We are taking a small break to celebrate Easter. We will be back on Monday 29 April. Have a happy Easter!

    Date:6 April 11, 2019
  • CHILDREN

    Common Foot Problems to Watch Out For in Children

    A child’s early years are critical to the growth and development of their feet. During this crucial stage in their lives, it’s important to make sure that their feet are developing correctly. Identifying warning signs or abnormalities early can help with treating foot conditions before they become worse. If you want to make sure your […]

    Date:6 February 27, 2019
  • NAILS

    The Most Common Causes of Nail Fungus – and How to Avoid It

    A fungal nail infection – also known as Onychomycosis – is undoubtedly one of the most annoying and irritating foot issues you can have. This infection is notorious for being difficult to remove once it’s settled in, requiring multiple treatments and a lot of patience to eliminate completely. It’s also an issue that people of […]

    Date:6 February 20, 2019
  • PODIATRY

    5 Ways to Proactively Care for Your Feet at Home

    Our feet are among the most easily abused parts of our bodies, so it’s important to take care of them and make sure they recover well at home every day. Fortunately, caring for your feet at home is easy if you know what to do. With proper care and maintenance, your feet can stay strong, […]

    Date:6 February 20, 2019