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Monday, November 1, 2010

Top 100 Biomechanical Guideline #10: Know Symptoms related to Limb Length Discrepancy (Short Leg Syndrome)

Heel lift used short right side

From the last post, here is a summary of common symptoms related to having a short leg.
  1.  Hip Pain
  2. Lower Back Pain
  3. Achilles Tendinitis
  4. Ilio Tibial Band Tendinitis
  5. Pronation problems if one side pronates too much
  6. Supination problems if the short side supinates too much
     I believe since 80% of patients have a short leg, either structurally or functionally, and when patients develop hip or low back pain from activities, lifts should be used to level the pelvis. It is very complicated at times, and very simple at other times. At least you should be checked for a short leg if your symptoms are not improving.

     When we watch someone walk with a leg length discrepancy, you see some dominance. The photo below shows this dominance as the patient leans to one side. She is left sided dominant. 80% of the time the dominant side is the long side, and 20% is the short side. In children, the dominant leg is over 50% the short leg.

Dominance to the Left

80% of the time the long leg over pronates to compensate for the long side. The over pronation actually flattens the arch, shortening the limb. The goal of this compensation is to level the spine and allow the head to stay level.

But, 20% of the over pronation occurs on the short leg. This is not compensation, but from break down of the short leg due to excessive pressure. So, when observing one side pronating more than the other, think leg length discrepancy. Further posts will talk about the measurement.

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.