The Effect of Leg Length Disparity on Athletic Performance and How to Improve It?

The percentage of people with leg length discrepancies is thought to be between 40 and 70 percent. This simply means that one of the legs is longer than the other. Because the difference is usually so small, it may not be an issue in most cases.

If you’re a runner, the condition may manifest as low back and/or hip pain as the body tries to compensate for the imbalance. You should be aware of the various causes of a leg length discrepancy, how to diagnose it, and how a heel lift can keep your running on course.

Leg length differences can be of two different types:

  1. Anatomical Difference
  2. Functional Difference

Leg length can vary due to anatomical and functional problems, which are two separate problems. When one leg’s bones are longer than the other leg’s bones, this is referred to as an anatomical difference. Medical imaging, such as X-rays or CT scans, can be used to diagnose this.

On the other hand, the bones are equal in length in a functional difference, but muscle imbalance, spinal curvature, or even arthritis-related issues change the alignment of the hips over time.

How to know if you have a leg length difference?

While medical imaging is the only method for determining an anatomical difference, determining a functional difference can be more difficult. However, you can conduct a simple 3-step test at home to know if you have a functional difference.

  1. Put your legs together and lie on your back without shoes
  2. Ask one of your friends to place both their hands on your hip bones, one on each hip 
  3. For about a minute, have your friend gently rock your hips from side to side 

The goal is to relax and loosen your muscles. Finally, he can check your feet to see if your ankle bones are even. If your ankles don’t seem to be evenly spaced, repeat steps one through three while letting your muscles relax even more.

Visit a healthcare provider for a formal diagnosis if the test you can do at home suggests a possible imbalance.

How does a heel lift help with a disparity in leg length? 

The Heel Lift is designed to lessen the discomfort caused by short legs. You might be given a heel lift to wear in the shoe of your shorter leg depending on your diagnosis. A non-invasive secure, and reasonably priced method to help balance the imbalance is to put a heel lift in the sole of your shoe. For best results, it is important to get the exact measurement of your leg length difference from your podiatrist. He or she might advise you to begin using a lift for brief periods at first in order to give your body time to gradually adjust—especially when running.

When it comes to customizing your athletic shoes, you should let an orthopedic shoe repair specialist perform the best shoe lift modification job. 

Heel lifts for running issues: 

Other common overuse injuries associated with running that are often treated with heel lifts that fit inside the shoe include: 

  1. Achilles Tendonitis: A heel lift in each shoe can help to reduce Achilles tendon stress and heel pressure.
  2. Plantar Fasciitis: Heel lifts work by shortening the length your calf must stretch during your stride, relieving pressure on the plantar fascia fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot.
  3. Heel Spurs: A heel lift may provide pain relief for a heel spur that occurs at the back of the heel by reducing stress on the Achilles tendon.

Consult your healthcare provider or a podiatrist to see if a heel lift is the best solution for the shorter leg or if other treatments are required. If you recommend a heel insert, get in touch with American Heelers for the best shoe lift modification job and get back on track.

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