Leg Length Discrepancies

Changes in anatomy and Physical structure manifests in various modes and forms. Any disturbance from the natural positioning of the body organs causes significant disturbance in the daily life cycle and activity of the person. One such change is the change in the length of the two limbs called leg length discrepancy. In absolute terms, it is lengthening or shortening of the either limb bringing drastic variation in the gait of a person. More than 60% of the world’s population encounter slight variation of 2 to 2.5 centimeters between the two legs. This difference is so negligible that it goes unnoticed among individuals. Beyond this, lies the problem termed leg length discrepancy.

Leg length discrepancy can be a condition from birth or at later stages of life. In the former treatment is much easier and faster when detection takes place in early stages. Simple surgical retardation of growth on the longer limb can increase the pace at which the other limb catches to normality. Acquired leg length discrepancy can be due to an injury in the bone or imbalance activity like continuous hopping on one leg, athletic activity or working on uneven surfaces. Bone diseases like neurofibromatosis, heredity or ollier diseases. Other than these it can also be due to inflammation or neurologic conditions. Rare conditions include hemi-hypertrophy and hemi-atrophy.

Diagnosis of leg length discrepancy needs series of tests. Preliminary is the visual tests and other sitting and standing tests. Hip scouring, Craig’s, torque, supine to-long sit is some of them. Apart from this complete picture of the condition is by x-rays and computed radiography, with the later being the most popular. When the diagnosis involves children, data on the progression of the child growth gives necessary data to derive results. Further treatment depends on these.

Treatment for anatomical or functional leg length discrepancy depends on the patient’s mental and physical acceptance. Inexpensive heel lift for differences as much as 1 inch is common suggestions. These are not risky and do not have any side effects, except for caution and slight discomfort in the beginning. Surgical methods include shortening or lengthening of the limb using external devices or internal manipulations. Either way this procedure is risky with substantial side effects like infections, stiffness of nearby joints and other tendon and muscle tensions. But the process is more reliable and needs experts’ involvement. Over or under correction during surgery can cost the individual heavily. This calls for considerable caution and confidence.