What Effect Do Leg Length Discrepancies Have on Runners? And How to Fix it?

The percentage of people with leg length discrepancies is thought to be between 40 and 70 percent. This merely indicates that one leg is longer than the other. It might not be a problem because the difference is frequently so small.

However, if you’re a regular runner, the condition may manifest as hip and/or low back pain as the body tries to balance 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 help you maintain your running form.

Types of Leg Length Discrepancies: 

Leg length differences can be caused by two types: Anatomical and Functional.

When a bone in one leg is longer than the bone in the other leg, it is referred to as an anatomical difference. Imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans can be used to diagnose this.

The bones in a functional difference are the same length, but over time, the alignment of the hips is changed by muscle imbalance, spinal curvature, or even problems caused by arthritis.

How to assess whether you have Leg Length Discrepancies (LLD)?

The only way to identify anatomical differences is through medical imaging, but it can be more challenging to identify functional differences. American Heelers suggests performing a quick test as mentioned below at home to ascertain if you have any leg length deformations. 

  1. Keep your legs together and lie barefoot on your back. 
  2. Request a friend to place both of his hands, one on each of your hip bones. 
  3. Allow your friend to rock your hips from side to side for about a minute to relax and loosen your muscles.

Request him to examine your feet to determine whether your ankle bones are even. If your ankles do not appear to be even, repeat steps one through three to loosen up the muscles even more. If this home test reveals a possible imbalance, consult a healthcare professional for an official diagnosis.

What effect does a customized heel lift have on a leg length disparity? 

It’s important to follow the instructions of your orthopedic doctor. He or she may suggest you start using a shoe insert for limited periods of time at first to allow your body to adjust gradually—especially when running.

You might be given a heel lift to wear in the shoe of your shorter leg depending on your diagnosis. A heel lift is a non-invasive, safe, and low-cost way to help balance the difference. The orthopedic shoes customized by American Heelers use the most scientific method possible to help relieve the pain associated with a leg length discrepancy.

Heel Lifts to Help with Running Problems:

Heel lifts that fit inside the shoe are also frequently prescribed for other common overuse injuries associated with running, such as: 

Achilles Tendonitis: Each shoe should have a heel lift to lessen pressure on the heel and stress placed on the Achilles tendon.

Plantar Fasciitis: The plantar fascia, a band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, is relieved of pressure by heel lifts because they reduce the distance your calf must stretch out during a stride.

Heel Spurs: A heel lift may be able to relieve pain from a heel spur that develops at the back of the heel because it eases the strain on the Achilles tendon.
Visit a doctor to find out if a heel lift is the best treatment for a leg length discrepancy or other overuse injury related to running. If they advise getting a heel insert, get in touch with American Heelers, the experts in orthopedic shoe repair, so they can perfectly add shoe lifts to your preferred running shoe.

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