Methods of Assessing Leg Length Difference

┬áMany people around the world suffer from leg length discrepancy (LLD). When the length of both legs are different, it’s essential to measure the difference with accuracy. Often they found to be minor and go unnoticed. But, in case of large difference, proper diagnosis is required to solve this problem easily. Simple correction methods like, heel inserts for shoes are also available. The primary diagnosis starts from detecting the problem.

Discrepancy in leg length creates a number of health hazards. Permanent spinal deformation can also be a part of it. So, a fast correction always helps in reducing the irreversible health problems. To measure LLD, there are a number of methods used by the physicians and they are:

A: Measurement Through Tape:

A number of clinical methods are applied for measuring the difference accurately. Through this method, the length of each lower extremity can be measured by detecting the exact distance between anterior superior iliac spine & the medial malleolus. One can easily feel the protruding bone of the pelvis at the front from where measurement can be done. A tailor’s tape can be stretched up to the ankle bone to measure the length accurately. This can be done in a lying position. The discrepancy can be found by comparing each leg.

B:Standing On The Block:

Standing examination is also a great method. Various sizes of the blocks are placed under the short limb to level the pelvis. This method is more accurate than the tape measurement method. Apart from the above methods, the motion range of knee, hip, ankle need to be measured in order to detect the reasons for the apparent discrepancy.

C: Evaluation Through Radiography:

Radiography is an imaging method that includes orthoroentogenogram, scanogram, and teleoroentgenogram. In order to minimize the magnification error, Orthoroentogenogram uses three radiographic exposures on the hip, knee along with ankle joints. Through Scanogram three different images are collected using the previous technique and separate size film cassette. Similarly, through Teleoroentgenogram, a radiographic exposure, x-ray beam is used on the lower limb and knee to measure the height of the lift.

D: Computed Radiography:

This is an advanced process of assessing LLD. The assessment is done by taking a full length, standing radiograph through the radiographic cassette. Due to the use of customized softwares, quality radiographs can be obtained in comparison to the stranded film screen systems.

E: CT Scan:

Measurement of LLD through CT scan is done by obtaining digital images. During assessment, the patient lies on the table top of the CT scanner. A collimated x-ray beam is used to move the scanner.

Apart from the above methods there are also some other clinical and imaging methods, to evaluate the LLD in a patient. They can be used for better results.

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