Hip Pain & Limb Length

Have you ever thought about whether your legs are equal length? Well, if they are not, it could be causing some issues. A 2019 study found that only one and 10 adults have limbs that are equal in length. The other 90% had a difference in leg length. This difference is normally less than 1 cm. Could it still be a problem, today we will be discussing leg length discrepancy.

Most orthopedic surgeons and researchers who study leg length discrepancy found that any discrepancy in length less than 2 cm does not cause any issues. A more recent study found that discrepancies which are greater than 2 cm could alter biomechanics and loading patterns. This leads to compensatory pelvic and leveling and scoliosis. If this length is not corrected, it could even lead to permanent arthritic changes in the facet joints and discs in the lumbar spinal area. Leg length discrepancy less than 2 cm was not reviewed, but newer studies are beginning to review this.

In 2017, a study was done which found a significant relationship between anatomic leg length discrepancy and gait deviation. This was usually in those with leg length discrepancy greater than 1 cm. Researchers found that compensatory changes happen to both in the long and short leg as well as through the lower limbs with sagittal plane deviations. This is the most common compensation. The frontal plane compensations occur in the pelvis, hip, and the foot, even in the presence of a small leg length discrepancy.

A final study we will be discussing today found that leg length discrepancy is a significant and important risk factor that creates excessive abnormal mechanical joint loading. This leads to premature osteoarthritis. The study focused on leg length discrepancy in less than 2 cm and studied the accuracy of various methods used to measure it.

Doctors of chiropractic, like us, will assess leg length. This is especially true for patients who complain of hip, knee and low back pain. Leg length discrepancy can usually be corrected with heel lifts, combined heel lifts, and foot orthotics. Balancing the spine and pelvis it’s something that chiropractors have always done, and as time goes on, the importance of leg length discrepancy is becoming more known.

Come visit today if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. 

If you are suffering in pain, we can help. Through chiropractic, physical therapy and other treatment options, we have many options to help you. Schedule an appointment today or call us (212) 371-2000

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