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Leg Length Discrepancy

What are leg length discrepancies?

Leg length discrepancies are differences between the lengths of your legs. Not only can the actual difference vary from person to person but also how much it affects daily life. Small discrepancies often go unnoticed and do not need to be treated.  Larger differences may affect posture or cause a limp during walking. The discrepancy may be from the upper leg bone (femur) or the lower leg bone (tibia).

Common Causes

Common causes include bone infection, bone diseases, previous injuries, or broken bones. Other causes may include birth defects, arthritis where there is a loss of articular surface, or neurological conditions.

Diagnosis and Examination

A qualified musculoskeletal expert will first take a medical history and conduct a physical exam. Other tests may include X-rays, MRI, or CT scan to diagnose the root cause.

Treatment

Non-surgical treatment can be effective. A shoe lift may be recommended if the leg length difference is less than 1 inch. More significant leg length discrepancies may require a surgical procedure. In children, surgical procedures are available to help make leg lengths more equal.