The Problem of Leg Length Discrepancy and Ways to Ease the Discomfort They Cause

Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) is a common clinical finding. A difference in the length of the two legs may be the cause of your feeling unbalanced or experiencing pain in your limbs. You can alleviate your discomfort and treat your condition by investing in orthotics for leg length discrepancy, such as a shoe designed for people with this condition or lifts for people with shorter legs.

The Causes and Consequences of Leg Length Discrepancy

Uneven leg length, also known as “leg length discrepancy” or “anisomelia,” can affect a person’s quality of life. One can be identified with one of two different kinds of leg length inequality. The first type is Functional LLD, which accounts for the vast majority of cases. The second type is known as structural LLD. Both types of LLD are treatable, but without treatment, they can lead to significant discomfort and difficulty walking. Leg length discrepancy, also known as tibia and femur bone deformity.

What Are the Causes of Leg Length Differences?

Numerous factors can contribute to leg length discrepancies, but the root cause will vary depending on whether you have Functional LLD or Structural LLD. 

Most cases of functional LLD can be traced back to issues with the patient’s health, such as improper foot and body mechanics, a lack of strength in the hips and core, or spinal curvature. It’s possible that your athletic endeavors, your job, or your everyday postural habits have contributed to this problem. All of these things can affect one another and lead to a practical difference in the height of one leg compared to the other.

However, Structural LLD results from an actual discrepancy in length between the tibia and femur. People with structural LLD might have been born with legs that are too long or too short, or they might have gotten the condition after a leg fracture or surgery to replace a joint changed the length of their legs.

Common Indicators of Leg Length Disparities

Many different symptoms can arise from the height disparity between the two legs, including:

Difficulty bending over or standing still for very long. Pain or discomfort in the lower legs can be a sign that your legs aren’t the same length from your pelvis to your feet. This can occur after prolonged periods of standing, reaching, or squatting. 

Weakness or pain in the lower back. Leg length inequality can put stress on your hips and lower spine, which can lead to chronic back pain or even injuries.

Foot, knee, or hip pain. Pain in the feet, knees, or hips could have a number of different origins, but it’s also a red flag that one of your legs is too short or too long. This is due to your discrepancy putting additional stress and strain on areas that cause lower back pain. 

Dislocations and fractures of the limbs. Legs that aren’t the same length can put extra strain and pressure on the body, which can lead to injuries like a runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. One possible explanation for having more than one of these problems is having a leg length inequality.

Disorientation when walking or standing still. The inability to maintain a steady gait or balance as a result of a leg length discrepancy is a telltale sign of the problem. You may even start to walk with a slight limp.

Tiredness following a walk or other physical activity. While fatigue after a workout, walk, or other physical activity is to be expected, excessive fatigue after even mild exercise may be a symptom of LLD. The reason being, a disparity requires more effort to keep your balance.

Make an appointment with a podiatrist if you’ve experienced any of these signs.

Correcting a Leg Length Disparity with Shoe Lifts and Orthotics

Your comfort and mobility will improve, and you may be able to prevent further damage to your lower extremity or spinal joint by investing in orthotic shoe products. Here are two ways to achieve equal leg length:

Shoe Lifts: Those who have a difference of about two centimeters in their leg lengths may find that shoe lifts are a very comfortable solution. The length of your legs can be determined with precision by a medical expert after they take an X-ray of your lower leg bones. They can then use this information to find the best shoe lift for your specific needs. Shoe lifts are simple devices that adhere to the soles of your footwear to increase their height. But if you want more comfort, you should talk to an orthopedic shoe repair specialist about adding a sole insert to your favorite shoes. This is where American Heelers can be your best bet.  

Custom insoles: People who have been told they have LLD have a unique option in the form of custom insoles. These insoles are designed to fit into a wide variety of footwear, from sneakers to dress shoes. After examining your feet and making a plaster cast, your podiatrist will be able to make you some custom insoles.

Alternative Methods of Pain Relief or Injury Prevention:

In addition to medical interventions, preventative measures can help you live comfortably with your condition:

Avoid heavy physical activity when you are in pain. Walk, exercise, or complete household chores as usual, but stop as soon as possible if you experience any pain in your back or limbs. Ignoring discomfort increases the likelihood of experiencing further injury or pain in the future.

Plan to lose some weight. Overweight people may experience increased stress on their joints as a result of this. To reduce the strain on your legs, feet, knees, hips, and lower back, you should think about trying a weight-loss plan.

Avoid heavy lifting. Reducing the frequency with which you lift heavy objects can help you avoid injury and discomfort, as doing so uses muscles in your lower back and legs, both of which are prone to strain and pain. 

Throw away your old, sagging shoes. You may be experiencing pain in your limbs as a result of wearing old, unsupportive shoes or shoes with worn-out insoles. Throw these out to make room for shoes prescribed by your doctor.

Many doctors don’t think that functional differences in leg length are important, but our experience has shown that lifting the shorter leg brings relief to the affected area, sometimes even before the patient leaves. 

With the right knowledge and treatment options, you can embrace your leg length discrepancy while also improving your health. If you are diagnosed with LLD, then follow the easy steps and fill out the order form available on our website to send your shoes along with the prescription. We will recreate the orthopedic shoes that you need to improve your quality of life.

Give us a call at 216-378-2686. We’re excited to help!