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Leg length difference


A leg length difference describes a condition in which one leg either is, or appears to be, longer than the other leg.

What is a leg length difference?

A leg length difference (LLD), or limb length discrepancy as it is also known, occurs when one leg either is, or appears to be longer than the other leg. A leg length difference is not un-common, in fact, most people will have one leg that is slightly longer than the other. For the majority of people, a limb length difference will go unnoticed, however, others will suffer from problems associated with the difference in length, such as knee pain, back pain, and foot pain, as well as other foot and lower limb problems.

A leg length difference can be either functional or structural. A functional leg length difference occurs when the actual length of the limbs is the same, however, the legs appear to be different lengths due to posture, for example, a scoliosis of the spine will create a functional leg length difference.

A structural leg length difference is when the limbs are anatomically different in length, this means that either one or all of the bones that form the leg (tibia) and thigh (femur) are longer on one side when compared to the other leg.

What causes a leg length difference?

A leg length difference may be the result of:

  • Polio
  • Increased blood flow to the leg
  • Injury to the growth plate
  • Surgery (e.g. hip replacement)
  • Compensation for biomechanical problems elsewhere, for example, a scoliosis, pelvic tilt.
  • Muscular weakness/inflexibility of the pelvis
  • Muscular weakness/inflexibility of the foot
  • Lax ligaments

Following an assessment with us at Chiropody.co.uk the cause of your Leg length difference will be diagnosed, and treated accordingly.

Signs and symptoms of a leg length difference

The signs and symptoms of a leg length difference may include:

If you think you may have a leg length difference, or, if you are experiencing one or more of the above signs and symptoms, visit Chiropody.co.uk for an assessment.

How is a leg length difference diagnosed?

A podiatrist here at Chiropody.co.uk will be able to assess you for limb length difference as part of a Biomechanical assessments . The assessment will provide the podiatrist with the information necessary to form a diagnosis as to the cause of your leg length difference and the treatment most suitable for you.

Benefit of podiatry for a leg length difference

The benefit of podiatry assessment and treatment if you have a leg length difference is:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduced muscle tightness
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Improved mechanics
  • Improved posture
  • Return to activity

The benefits are achieved by improving upon the mechanics of the foot and lower limb, allowing the body to move efficiently and reducing the occurrence of compensatory mechanisms, which can lead to muscular weakness and tightness, pain and discomfort.

What would podiatry for a leg length difference involve?

Podiatry for a leg length difference would involve:

Once a diagnosis of leg length has been diagnosed and the cause has been established the following treatment options may be considered, they include:

Summary

A leg length difference is when one leg either is, or, appears to be longer than the other leg. There are two types of leg length difference; structural and functional. A structural leg length difference is when there is an actual anatomical difference in length between the two limbs, whereas with a functional leg length difference there is no difference in length, instead the limbs appear to be different lengths due to a compensatory mechanism for a biomechanical complaint elsewhere in the body.

One of our podiatrists will be able to help you if you think you have a leg length difference, it may be that your knee, back, or foot pain is the result of a leg length difference.

To arrange an assessment with one of our podiatrists please email office@chiropody.co.uk or call 0330 088 4222.

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