What Happens When One Leg is Longer Than the Other?

Houston podiatrist treats leg length discrepancy with heel lifts and custom orthoticsHuman beings are not symmetrical. It's true for our entire bodies, but especially true when it comes to our legs. It's not uncommon for one leg to be a little bit longer or shorter than the other. And sometimes even more than that. But sometimes they cause a problem.

Hi, I'm Houston podiatrist, Dr. Andrew Schneider. When I see patients in my office, I'm always on the lookout for a leg length discrepancy. It's a pretty easy thing for me to pick out because number one, the symptoms that they come in with are unilateral. They might have heel pain only on one side. They may have a bunion only on one foot. They may have pain on the outside of just one foot. And this is kind of a beacon to me that I should check how long their legs are. I do it very simply just by looking at the ankle bones and see if one is higher than the other. If I see it's the case, I'll lay them back and I'll measure each leg individually. And people are very shocked to find out that they do have a leg length discrepancy.

So what do we do for leg length discrepancy? Well, it's actually fairly straightforward. If one leg is longer, or shorter than the other, then we're going to start off by putting a cork heel lift underneath the shorter limb. That's going to help to even it up. And sometimes, something small like that, even an eighth of an inch or a quarter of an inch, is enough to take away the person's pain. It's astounding that people come in just three weeks later and they say their pain is totally gone all because of this small heel lift designed for a leg length discrepancy.

There are times however, where a heel lift is not enough. And so, we'll make a custom orthotic with a heel lift incorporated in it to affect a leg length discrepancy as well as the mechanics, because when you have a leg length discrepancy, your two feet work two very different ways. So by stabilizing your mechanics, by stabilizing your feet and with a custom orthotic, you're able to get the foot working in an efficient way, in a stable way, all the while being able to even up the leg so everything is working well together.

If you're concerned that you might have a leg length discrepancy and want me to check it out, give us a call for an immediate appointment.

 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.