How Common is Leg Length Discrepancy and How Can I Correct it?


It’s estimated that 40 to 70 percent of the population has some sort of leg length discrepancy. However, not everyone knows they have one. Some discrepancies can be so mild they go unnoticed and don’t affect a person’s day to day life. On the other hand, a difference of leg lengths greater than 1/8 inch is when people often feel pain or experience other bodily discomfort or symptoms due to the length inequality.

Uneven leg lengths can lead to various, sometimes painful, side-effects. It can affect posture, gait and lower back pain, just to name a few.

Many causes can be attributed to a leg length discrepancy, such as:

  • A broken bone in the leg, especially if it occurs during your childhood
  • Disease-caused shortening of the muscles and connective tissue, a common after-effect of diseases like Polio
  • Surgically-induced differences commonly seen after a knee replacement or a hip replacement
  • Compensation for problems elsewhere in the body, such as pelvic or spinal scoliosis

If the condition is minor, there are ways to help correct the problem without resorting to surgical intervention.

How to Correct Uneven Leg Lengths

If you have a minor leg length discrepancy, there are the two common ways to treat it. These two treatments are often used in tandem with one another.

Treatment #1: Physical Therapy

Many people will see a physical therapist who will provide them with various stretches and exercises to help correct posture and gait associated with discrepancy. Some of these exercises can include:

  • Core exercises – This is any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in coordinated fashion. Examples of this would be planking or squatting.
  • Hip exercises – This is any exercise that involves the use of your hip or gluteus muscles in coordinated fashion. Common exercises for your hips can include clamshells, lunges or straight leg raises.
  • Leg exercises – This is any exercise that involves the use of your leg’s anterior or exterior muscles. The anterior muscles, such as the quadriceps femoris, iliopsoas, and sartorius, work as a group to flex the thigh at the hip and extend the leg at the knee. Posterior muscles include the hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Common exercises for your legs include box jumps or knee tucks using a stability ball.
  • Lower back exercises – This is any exercise that involves the use of Obliques, Multifidus, Longissimus, Spinalis, or Quadratus Lumborum. Common exercises for your lower back include bridges, knee to chest stretches, rotational stretches and cat stretches.

Over time, your physical therapist will track your progress and monitor your balance and gait. They may also suggest using a heel lift.

Treatment #2: Heel Lifts

Low back pain, hip pain and knee pain are some of the more common conditions associated with leg length deficiencies. Heel lifts can be an effective treatment for problems related to uneven leg lengths. They can help better balance the lower body by adding to the length of the short leg at the point when the heel strikes the ground while walking.

Try Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lifts

The Adjust-A-Lift® heel lift is a simple solution to help correct leg length inequalities. Just like we mentioned, it’s an insert you place in the heel of your shoe to give extra length to the leg that is shorter than the other. With that being said, there’s a big difference between the Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lift when comparing it to other heel lift options.

Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lifts are Customizable to Help Better Correct Your Individual Leg Length Inequality

These heel lifts are unique because the lift is adjustable – you can peel layers off of it in order to adjust the height of the lift that works best for you. The Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lift is made with three layers of extra firm, open cell foam rubber, each 1/8-inch-thick, held together with double-sided adhesive. This combination results in only three sizes being needed because the layers can be removed to accommodate the height required up to approximately 1/2-inch. Its customizability makes for a perfect fit to help correct your leg length inequality.

If you’re struggling with pain and discomfort due to uneven leg lengths, give Adjust-A-Lift® a try!