This is one of the most commonly misunderstood factors in any biomechanical appointment and is usually not assessed very well. It can cause foot, knee, and hip, back and even head ache pain due to a decrease in body symmetry.
There are two main types of leg length discrepancy:
1 – Structural: One leg is longer than the other (e.g. the right femur is two 2cm longer than the left which causes that leg to be longer). This may not have an effect on every person. Research varies as to what difference is considered insignificant. Some say less than 0.5cm is insignificant and other say less than 2cm is. If it creates pain it is worth investigating, and treated.
2 – Functional: This is when one leg appears longer than the other but if you had a scanogram they would be the same length. This is the most common because during our life time the body works in a specific way. This causes some muscles to shorten and others to lengthen and creates a change e.g. average person working at their desk for 20 years will have some sort of back and pelvic muscle change. This can cause the pelvis to rotate and cause the legs to function at different lengths.
How can The Podiatrist help you?
- We can use assessment skills to work out if you have a functional or structural leg length discrepancy.
- Use orthotics if necessary but not always
- We work closely with physiotherapist to work out the problem areas and strengthen and lengthen the right muscle groups
In treating one of these you would often see reoccurring injuries resolved and quality of life increase. So if you are experiencing pain come and see us and get it checked out.