For strutted movements of the human body, the musculoskeletal system should be well-aligned for achieving the effective movements for avoiding fatigue and stress. Unfortunately, most of the people are not structurally or functionally symmetrical so that there may be many symptoms that are caused in the body because of uneven lengths of legs. Many of these symptoms can be treated if the type and cause of LLD was recognized at the early stage.
The leg length discrepancy symptoms are a common occurrence in the adult population and the pediatric and the statics shows that about 93% of the population was affected by this disorder. The leg length discrepancy will have a profound effect on the system of locomotor that affects the foot, hip joints, sacroiliac, and the spine. A greater difference that is more than 1 cm will affect the alignment of the normal body but a small difference will not have much effect.
Types of the leg length discrepancy
The leg length discrepancy is classified into 2 types such as structural leg length discrepancy and functional leg length discrepancy. Structural leg length discrepancy is caused due to the difference in length of tibia or femur and this cause may be trauma, post-surgical or congenital such as knee fracture or replacement.
Functional leg length discrepancy is raised when the bony components are of equal length but the functions are asymmetrical. This asymmetrical function is caused due to the knee Valgum or Varum, hyperextension of ankle or knee, pelvic or anomaly or scoliosis, excessive unilateral foot supination or pronation, previous injury, and hip flexion contractures.
Uneven shoulder fit or arm swing, knee joint where the hyperextension of long knee or leg flexed more long side, ankle joint where the plantar flexion of the legs that are shorter that is pointing to the ground, subtalar joint where the supination of the shorter leg that is raised arch and the pronation of longer legs that are flattened arch.
Symptoms and signs of leg length discrepancy
The following are some of the common leg length discrepancy symptoms and signs, which includes Valgus or Varus knee, early heel lift, Achilles tendonitis, asymmetric pelvic rotation, the tendency of the bodyweight is shifted to the longer side, pronation of subtalar joint, OA or hip pain and low back pain.
X-rays are the best tool used for determining the leg length structurally and also to know about some information regarding the limb’s bone quality and some other anatomical anomalies.
Treatment methods for leg length discrepancy
The following are some of the common leg length discrepancies treatment methods which include surgical procedures, stretching contracted muscle groups, shoe modifications, and heel lift with a customized orthotics.