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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bonnie Verhunce

What is Leg Length Discrepancy and How Chiropractic Can Help - 1/25/2022

Most people take the length of their legs for granted. In order for your legs to function properly, they need to be the same length. For example, think about how uncomfortable it would be if your legs were different lengths! One leg would constantly feel like it was hitting the ground too early while the other leg would feel like it is having to stretch too far. This can have a profound impact on your feet, knees, hips, pelvis, and spine. Unfortunately, there are some people who have legs that are different lengths. This is called Leg Length Discrepancy, and it is something that can be addressed by your chiropractor. What do you need to know about this condition?

The Types of Leg Length Discrepancy

First, there are two different types of leg length discrepancy. The first type is less common and is called anatomical short leg. This is an actual difference between the size or length of the femur. Often, this takes place due to growth asymmetry. Most people who have an anatomical short leg are born with it but there are other situations that can cause it, too, like a severe infection, or even a past surgery.

The other type of leg length discrepancy is more common and is called functional short leg. This refers to a difference in the alignment of the supporting structures between the head of the femur and the ground.

Often, this type of leg length discrepancy develops because of misalignments between the two bones that make up the pelvis known as ilia. As one ilium rotates forward the other will compensate and rotate backward. This backward rotation causes the femur to shorten which makes it look like a short leg compared to the other.

Excessive rolling of one's foot as someone walks as well as bowing of the knees, usually referred to as knee valgus, can be another component of functional short leg.

The Symptoms of Leg Length Discrepancy

Similar to other conditions, the severity of leg length discrepancy can vary widely from person to person. The most common symptom is back pain, which develops when the spine, pelvis or hips have to adjust structurally to make up for the differences between the legs.

In severe situations, there are other symptoms that may develop. Examples include arthritis of the hip, patellar tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome, and lateral knee pain. Even though a lot of people believe they require surgery to correct this condition, this is not always the case. A chiropractor may be able to use a variety of techniques to help people manage this condition.

Chiropractic Can Help with Leg Length Discrepancy

A chiropractor is a nervous system and musculoskeletal expert who is well trained to handle conditions like leg length discrepancy. Their main goal is to help improve the overall health and well-being of your body. However, if you suffer from leg length discrepancy, she will address the various structural misalignments she finds throughout your legs, hips, pelvis, and spine by administering very specific chiropractic adjustments.

She may also prescribe orthotics. Orthotics help support fallen arches, knocked knees as well as hip and pelvic rotation due to functional misalignments. Bottom line: Orthotics can make a significant difference in someone's overall quality of life since they help support chiropractic adjustments long after they've been administered.

Your chiropractor is professionally trained to treat conditions just like this and can help you overcome it using various treatment options like adjustments, exercises, and orthotics.

If you suffer from leg length discrepancy and are dealing with knee pain, hip pain, pelvic pain, or back pain, give your local chiropractor a call. If you don't have one, then give us a call. We'll get you in as quickly as possible and are always here to help!

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