Rodney McBride

Leg Length Discrepancies 2

Leg Length Discrepancies 2

In my blog Leg Length Discrepancies (see November 18th) I defined what a leg length discrepancy is and how to treat it. In part 2 I want to talk about some secondary components that accompany leg length discrepancies and how to treat them as well. Lets review part one.

A leg length discrepancy is when one leg actually is or appears to be longer than the other. The discrepancy can be structural (bones) in nature or functional (muscles) in nature. If structural treat with a heel lift under the short leg and use bodywork/stretching for maintenance. If functional treat the muscles in dysfunction with nutrition/bodywork. Functional discrepancies are more common and come from two areas-the neck and/or the hip. 

Besides the usual hip and back pain/discomfort leg length discrepancies can also lead to knee and foot dysfunctions since gate would be uneven stressing one or both sides.

Leg length discrepancies are also known as lateral pelvic tilts. The pelvis tips down on one side giving the appearance one leg is longer and the other leg shorter. Leg length discrepancies are usually caused by poor postural habits such as sitting for long periods or standing with your weight more on one leg. But there are collateral dysfunctions to the leg length discrepancy. 

On the side with the longer leg the hip will rotate forward and on the side with the shorter leg the hip will rotate back. This is the habitual pattern but there are exceptions. Sometimes both hips will rotate forward/back together but this means there is probably not a leg length discrepancy but again there are exceptions. There is a natural torque to the hips, but it's when the rotation is beyond whats considered normal is where the problem begins.  

Once I have corrected the leg length discrepancy i will make sure to also correct the hip rotation to one or both sides using bodywork and stretching for maintenance for better function. It is a very common mistake not to treat both leg length discrepancies and rotational torque issues together. 

In Leg Length Discrepancies 3 I will talk about a third component in regards to the hips called pelvic category's and how they can cause shoulder pain and discomfort.


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