Leg Length Discrepancy Explained

Leg Length Discrepancy Explained

A complex subject which I aim to demystify and explain in everyday language, let’s go!

There are two types of leg length discrepancy (LLD), true and apparent:

• True LLD is when we are born with or through trauma (accident), one leg is truly longer than the other.
• Apparent LLD is the appearance of a longer leg which can be caused by several factors including tight muscles and asymmetric movement or fixation of the pelvic bones, such as forward/ backward rotation and upslips.

Most people have some variance between leg length, the average being approx. 1cm and again most bodies compensate without difficulty. If the disparity is greater than 1.5-2cm, problems can arise such in the ankle, knee, hip and spine.

There are several anatomical tests a good physical therapist can undertake which will point towards the specific type of LLD present and inform how it may be treated.

• True LLD is generally treated by orthotics (inner sole wedges) when less severe, sometimes surgery and in addition, physiotherapy to balance other affected structures.
• Apparent LLD can be treated by a good physical therapist with realignment of the pelvic bones and release of specific causative muscles.

If you feel that one leg is longer my advice is to take steps to determine which type, from my experience, many people firmly believe they have a true type without robust diagnostic evidence and live with pain unnecessarily when it could be treated.

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Go well. Will

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