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Leg Length Discrepancy

leg length discrepancy area

Leg length discrepancy occurs commonly – it is believed that it affects the majority of the population and it is considered a frequent cause of injuries among runners. Leg length asymmetry can be either structural or functional.

Structural (also called anatomical, or true) leg length discrepancy occurs when one or more bones of one leg are shorter than the bones in the other leg. Structural leg length asymmetry can be caused by growth plate injuries, fractures, genetic problems and certain conditions affecting muscles and the nervous system, as well as spine abnormalities.

Functional (or apparent) leg length discrepancy is diagnosed when there are no differences in leg length, but certain conditions, e.g. scoliosis or pelvic obliquity (pelvic tilt), create differences in leg length appearance.

Symptoms and conditions often associated with leg length discrepancy

one leg longer than the other • Backache and pain in your side (one side)
• Knee and hip arthritis
• Knee pain
• Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot)
• Affected walking and posture
• Excessive pronation

How is leg length discrepancy treated?

heel raise in shoe

Appropriate physiotherapy exercises are frequently recommended if the leg length discrepancy is functional: exercise can help regain balance and symmetry and strengthen muscles.

If leg length discrepancy is structural, a heel lift, or a heel insert of appropriate height is placed in the shorter leg’s shoe to help restore the correct alignment and biomechanics.

When the difference in leg length is large and symptoms are severe, surgical procedure may be considered in order to correct the asymmetry

Dr Insole’s shoe lifts for leg length discrepancy

heel raise insole

An appropriately fitted heel lift is an effective remedy for backache, leg and foot pain. Dr Insole’s heel raises are custom-made, following a detailed assessment from our orthotic expert. It allows us to determine precisely the required height of the heel insert. Dr Insole’s heel lifts are made from cork - this lightweight and flexible material is also extremely durable, providing a comfortable, lasting fit. Our shoe lifts have long, gradual slope that extends under the foot arch - they support and stabilise the foot in the shoe, staying firmly in place.

To book a free consultation with one of our orthotic specialists and to find out more how our orthotics can help with your heel pain, please click here