A leg length discrepancy (LLD) exists when one leg is longer than the other with respect to the same individual. Such discrepancies are relatively common, occurring in up to 70% of the general population.
LLD may be classified as a structural or functional discrepancy, depending on the source. It is important to differentiate between the two types of LLD as their treatments differ greatly.
Structural leg length discrepancies occur when one or both bones in the leg (the femur and/or the tibia) physically measures longer than the bone(s) on the opposite side. This type of discrepancy may be congenital or can result from trauma, surgery, or degenerative disease.
Symptoms vary from person to person and depend upon the type, amount, and source of the leg length discrepancy. Symptoms of LLD’s include:
A second method to measure leg length difference (LLD) is to use blocks of known height to even out the pelvis. Standing on a flat and firm surface, place the blocks under the shorter leg until feeling even and balanced. You can also use thin hardback books or tiles. Then step off the block and use a ruler to take a measurement. This amount is known as the functional leg length difference. This may be different from the actual leg length difference. It may take some trial and error for you to find the most effective shoe lift size. We recommend you consider the opinion of a medical professional along with your own analysis of your body function.
True structural discrepancies are typically addressed using full foot lifts for the short side. Smaller discrepancies may be treated with a heel lift, but it has been found that full-length lifts are much more effective for larger discrepancies.
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