There are many complications linked to the legs. Sometimes, these may ache, and sometimes they may get swollen. Typically, both legs are of the same size to maintain the balance of the body. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, one portion of a person may become shorter than the other, thus causing complications.
Today, we shall discuss how this will affect your lifestyle and how it could be treated with the help of physiotherapy techniques. But before discussing these conditions, let us discuss what leg length discrepancy is?
Leg Length Discrepancy
Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) refers to a condition in which there is a significant difference between the length of its lower extremities.
Typical symptoms of LLD includes:
- A significant difference in the lower extremities.
- Sometimes, the person stands with one hip higher than the other or has one knee bent.
- A person with LLD may tire quickly.
Classification of LLD
These are further classified into two types:
1- Anatomical LLD
This condition refers to the difference in the bony skeleton of the lower extremities of the person. This can happen due to trauma or due to congenital conditions.
2- Functional LLD
This is apparent LLD, but there is no real bony difference between a person’s leg length. It may be due to specific reasons such as:
- Postural disturbance
- Muscles imbalances
Functional Leg Length Discrepancy is more common than anatomical LLD.
Significance of Leg Length Discrepancy
Most people are not perfectly symmetrical. They have slight differences from side to side. A difference ranging from 1.0 to 1.3 cm is usually considered normal.
Anatomical LLD of greater than 1.3cm length is the only problem causing apparent symptoms. Typical causes in people with anatomical LLD includes:
- Low Back Pain
- Gait (walking) Abnormalities.
- Hip Pain.
- Lower extremities stress Fractures.
How Physiotherapist Get to Know if You have LLD
Physiotherapists are trained to measure LLD when they get the available symptoms. They can measure by tape the distance between the hip and ankle of the person on each side while the client is lying down.
If surgery were considered an option, the Physiotherapist suggested an X-Ray andCT Scan confirms the Leg length discrepancy.
Physiotherapy Treatment to be Done if you have LLD
Leg Length Discrepancy can be cured by using appropriate physiotherapy techniques provided by a trained physiotherapist. Let us discuss these procedures for both types of Leg length discrepancy.
Treating Functional LLD
As mentioned earlier, the underlying cause of functional LLD is measured to provide treatment to alleviate symptoms and restore symmetry. Physiotherapists measure these underlying causes such as poor posture and muscle imbalances to assess. They can adopt manual therapy and can also prescribe exercises to the people to help relieve this problem.
Treating Anatomical LLD
Anatomical LLD is treated using different techniques. Such as:
- Physiotherapists could suggest using heels in the shorter leg’s shoes to minimize stress on the body during weight-bearing tasks. The Physiotherapist measures how much the heel should be used for an appropriate posture and helps restore natural pelvic positions.
- If the anatomical LLD becomes severe, it would also be required to use surgical methods. These can be used to shorten the long leg or to lengthen the shorter leg. The role provided by Physiotherapists is vital since it can help provide rehabilitation services to help stretch muscles and maintain joint flexibility. This is essential for the healing process to occur.
This treatment method is often used in growing children. The basic principle lies in slowing down one or two growth plate regions in the longer leg. This technique has an advantage since it does not require any surgical procedure usually needed. However, this procedure has the disadvantage that the patient’s height would be slightly smaller than what it actually could be. The child must be skeletally immature so that the growth plateof the other leg is active to compensate for the size difference.
If you encounter any of the leg length discrepancy symptoms (LLD), you should not ignore them since it could significantly damage your quality of life. You need to consult a knowledgeable physiotherapist for your ultimate guidance and future procedures. To consult the best Physiotherapist, visit MARHAM.PK.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1- Which part of the bone is most likely to be affected when a shortening of bone happens?
Most commonly, the femur and tibia are the two bones affected when a person has leg length discrepancy. The growth usually occurs incorrectly in these bones.
2- Can uneven legs cause hip pain?
Due to leg length discrepancy, either one or both the hip joints usually hurt due to their uneven stress. The stress affects the muscles and tendons of your hip, causing hip pain.
3- Is the shoulder tilted while having LLD?
Yes. It is also seen that there is the tilting of the shoulder when you have differences in your leg height.
4- Is Leg Length Discrepancy fatal?
Leg length discrepancy itself is not fatal. However, it can significantly affect lifestyle, making it challenging to live appropriately. It can cause pain and sometimes even arthritis but is not life-risking