Functional Leg Discrepancies

The most common problem found among a number of athletes is the functional leg discrepancy. In absolute terms, it is a variation in the length of the limbs, which causes significant disturbance in gait and other balancing factors. Research just puts it, that more than 60% of the total population have this problem. More than 90% of athletes have this change. What matters is the extent to which the problem manifests in the individuals. If the difference is around 2 to 2.5 cms then clinically it is not of ample importance. This is because of the negligible effects on such minor variation.

A general abnormality with functional leg discrepancies is an alteration in walk and running, increased lumbar flexion, knee pain and mental disturbance. Anterior rotation is popular with athletics and those who maintain nutritional health through jogging on uneven surfaces. In this condition, the right pelvis rotates forward in relation to the opposite side. This causes alteration in the leg length, muscle distortion and a rippling effect on the lower body. Activities leading to such injury are running on an uneven surface, hopping and skipping on a single leg, scoliosis and other imbalance conditions.

Another factor affecting this is the upslip. Here, half of the pelvis slips upwards in comparison to the other half. This can offer lengthening of one of the limbs or neurological feedback loop. Manifestation of functional leg discrepancy can be either lengthening or shortening of the legs. Technical understanding of the length variation consists of direct visual method by lying the patient supine on a table, foot posture index, hip position, radiography, computation of data during progress, and final analysis are all the methods.

Treatment under such conditions includes various procedures. Some use the heel lifts. In these the leg, which is shorter, uses higher heels to match the counterpart. Caution while using such shoes is that change in the sole height must be slow and steady. Sudden variation can cause unwanted spinal effects. Some practitioners suggest surgery for such ailments. Others suggest early detection and eradication. Graph of the changes during growth comes from Anderson’s and Green’s charts. Any of the treatment methods affect the patient physically and mentally. So, it is highly necessary that there is a strong support from the family and expert advice from the doctor. A qualified and expert physician and technician for treatment and assessment of results can give fruitful results.