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LEG LENGTH DISCREPANCY: IS THAT A THING?

Living in Greenville SC with questions about leg length? Is that even a thing? Yes, it is a thing, but having a longer leg is not anything to be largely concerned about. In fact, having a longer leg is more common than you think! ​A majority of the population has one leg longer than the other. Let's discuss this further:

Leg length can be categorized into 2 types: 
​1. TRUE LEG LENGTH DISCREPANCY: Your bones are different lengths. This could be due to a growth issue, systemic illness, or a traumatic injury. These leg lengths are not correctable. Rather, Physical Therapy focuses on helping the patient adapt to the difference to minimize the overall impact on the body. If not addressed, these leg length differences can cause structural changes in the body over time. Some examples include scoliosis (curved spine) and osteoarthritis of the joints that are being overused. 

2. FUNCTIONAL LEG LENGTH DISCREPANCY: One leg may appear shorter or longer in certain positions (standing, lying down, sitting) and that leg length may change depending on the position. Usually this is because of some joint or muscle tightness going on at or around the pelvis. The pelvis may be rotated, or one hip bone may be sitting higher than another. This develops from muscle/joint imbalances or unequal use of both legs. Just like how most of us have a dominant arm, and we use that side in different ways than we do our non-dominant arm, the same is true in the legs. Typically, these discrepancies can be "fixed" with some manual therapy techniques to help balance out the muscles and bone positions. 
 
If anyone says the cause of their back, hip, or knee pain is due to a leg length, I would instantly question them. The truth is that while it is certainly possible to have one leg longer than the other, the odds of your leg length discrepancy being significant enough to cause your pain are extremely small. So be cautious if a medical professional diagnosis’ you with a leg length discrepancy because most often it is because you are hiking one hip up higher than the other. That’s right, it’s not the length of your leg bones that is causing your uneven leg length. It’s most likely the muscles in your waist and hips.

 

 

If you have questions about your pain/injury/limitation, or are interested in injury prevention, then please email us by clicking HERE, or call us at (864) 881-1712. We would love to take some time to help you.

If you need a physical therapist to evaluate, treat, or prevent your pain/injury/limitation, then click HERE to schedule an appointment today.