Limb lengths can vary between left and right, and a slight difference in limb length is quite common. A number of factors can make the legs function as though they are different lengths. A slight scoliosis (curvature of the spine), tilt of the pelvis, pathology of the hips, and difference in length of the two legs can all create a scenario of the foot and legs functioning differently. A slight scoliosis is quite common, and more commonly in females, and may result in tilt of the pelvis. One easy way to determine if the legs are equal in length is to look at the legs from the back. Without clothes, the crease of the buttocks should be parallel. When you get out of the shower, take a hand mirror, and standing as straight as possible, look and see if the lower buttocks looks parallel. If they aren’t you could have a limb length inequality.
A functional limb length inequality sometimes may warrant more investigation, such as hip or back x-rays, neurologic testing, MRI, or other diagnostic studies. If no other significant problem is identified, a heel lift can be placed under the lower side, to elevate this leg, evening out the back. This may relieve low back and hip pain, often associated with limb length inequality. In addition, various types of foot pain can develop as a result of this inequality as well. If you have low back pain or problems, hip pain, or chronic pain in one foot, evaluation of your limb length may reveal a possible cause. For more information or a thorough evaluation, give us a call!