Leg length discrepancies are more common than you’d think. In fact, it’s estimated that 40-70% of people have a leg length discrepancy. However, not every person is aware they have uneven leg lengths. There are cases where it’s very clear there’s an issue but many times it’s a subtle difference unnoticeable to the naked eye. Typically a difference of leg lengths greater than 1/8 inch is when you start to feel pain or experience other bodily symptoms due to the length inequality.
People may brush off certain aches and pains as just a sign of aging or perhaps sleeping in the wrong position. In reality, there could be an underlying cause capable of being corrected.
Whether your leg length discrepancy was something you were born with, or something you acquired later in life following a fracture or surgery, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with this problem.
When the length of one leg is slightly different from the other it can have a domino effect on the rest of the body. This can ultimately cause an altered position of lower limb joints, the pelvis and the spine. In turn, a disturbance can be created in your posture control, which can lead to problems with things such as balance and gait.
Problems with gait (manner of walking)
Two different leg lengths can lead to your entire body being off-balance. This eventually can contribute to a noticeable problem with your gait. If you, or someone you know, does any of the following, there may be an issue with gait:
- Walking with head or neck tilted to one side
- Dragging or shuffling feet
- Irregular, jerky movements when walking
- Taking shorter steps
- Walking slowly or stiffly
Your rib cage or hips are forward on one side more than the other
When you lie on your back does one rib stick out more than the other? This is often a sign of a pelvic tilt which is connected to leg length inequality. It may not always feel painful, but it can be very uncomfortable and can lead to pain if left uncorrected.
Loss of muscle tone in one leg
If one leg is longer than the other, your body is likely overcompensating to make up for this deficiency. This means one side of your body is doing more work than the other, leading to more muscle tone in one leg.
Pain in the lower back, hip, ankle or knee
These are classic symptoms of one leg being longer than the other. They occur when your body is overcompensating for one of your legs being longer than the other.
Pain being more severe on one side of the body than the other
As we just mentioned, your body will overcompensate to make up for your uneven leg length by having one side of the body work harder than the other. Because of this, you may feel more stiff or sore on one side compared to the other.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, speak with a chiropractor, physical therapist or physician. If it’s determined you have a leg length deficiency, try one of our Adjust-a-Lift heel lifts. Our heel lifts are designed to relieve any type of discomfort you might experience due to one leg being shorter than the other one.