Have you recently had—or are planning to have—a total knee replacement?
If so, you may experience some leg length deficiencies. In this article, we’ll cover what a leg length deficiency is, how knee replacements may cause it, and what to watch for following your surgery to see if you’re suffering from uneven leg lengths.
What is a leg length deficiency?
Leg length deficiency, or discrepancy, is simply a difference between lengths in a person’s legs. A leg length deficiency is typically not noticeable to the naked eye, however, doctors and physical therapists can measure limb lengths, analyze your gait, do an x-ray or a CT scan if they feel there may be a deficiency.
How can a total knee replacement cause a leg length deficiency?
A knee replacement, also called knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement, is a surgical procedure to resurface the knee. Over 600,000 total knee replacements are performed each year. While not common, it’s possible to have a leg length discrepancy following this procedure. An uneven leg length can occur when the knee that’s been replaced, makes that leg slightly longer.
What signs should I watch for following my knee replacement to see if I have a leg length deficiency?
The effects of a leg length deficiency can vary from person to person. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms once you’ve healed from your total knee replacement surgery, you may have slightly different leg lengths:
- Difficulty walking or running
- Lower back pain
- Tiring quickly when walking
- Limping when walking
- When standing or walking you tire more quickly on one side
- Your level of discomfort gets worse after standing or walking
- You feel like you have lost muscle tone and walk with more of a “swing the leg” gait rather than lifting your leg evenly one side to the other
- Feeling like your rib cage or hips are forward on one side more than the other
- If someone stands behind you and observes you walking, they notice that your belt line or shoulders might not be completely level with the ground
- Your pain is more severe on one side
How do I treat it?
The most non-invasive way to treat a leg length deficiency is by using a heel lift. This can be implemented in tandem with physical therapy depending on how much the discrepancy is affecting your day-to-day life.
Our Adjust-A-Lift® heel lifts are high quality, versatile items that are helpful in treating a wide range of symptoms arising from the effects of leg length inequality.
Our lifts come in a variety of sizes and are made with three layers of extra firm, open cell foam rubber held together with double-sided adhesive. The best part is, layers can be removed based off of the height required to even out your leg lengths.