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I Just Had My Knee Replaced. Are My Legs Different Lengths Now?

So, you finally had the total knee replacement you needed but something still doesn’t feel right. You’re not alone. It’s a somewhat common occurrence after a total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with up to 20% of patients reporting dissatisfaction after their surgery.

A study published in the Journal of Arthroplasty outlines several possible reasons for this dissatisfaction:

  • A difference in patient expectations prior to surgery
  • The degree of improvement in knee function
  • Level of pain relief following surgery

If you are still experiencing pain after your surgery and subsequent rehabilitative care, you may have a slight functional difference in the lengths of your legs. A leg length discrepancy occurs when one leg is a different length than the other which can result in difficulty walking, slight limping, and lower back pain.

Surgeons make very specific and exact measurements before performing a total knee replacement, taking into account the size of the prosthesis as compared to the size of the deteriorated knee joint. Technically speaking, it’s very unlikely for your legs to be different lengths after your knee replacement. But functionally speaking, it’s possible.

As your body adjusts to your new knee it may feel like the leg with the operative knee is longer even if, by measurement, it’s not. So you may experience some of the pain associated with a leg length discrepancy. This discomfort should abate with time and physical therapy but you may have another short term option to mitigate pain – the Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lift.

The Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lift is a high quality, versatile item that is helpful in treating a wide range of symptoms arising from the effects of leg length inequality. Low back pain, hip pain and knee pain are some of the more common conditions associated with leg length deficiencies. Users often find relief while walking, running, or exercising. The shoe insert is made of extra-firm open cell foam rubber and is customizable to fit the specified shoe size and lift height.

A true structural difference is rare after a total knee replacement. However, as the body begins to adapt to the new knee a small functional difference may occur, or just be perceived at first. Your surgeon may suggest physical therapy along with a small lift as you adjust to the change. If so, consider the Adjust-A-Lift® Heel Lift.