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  • Feet Care Pte Ltd

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A discrepancy in leg length will usually become obvious as you grow older. Some children are born with legs of different lengths. In other cases, illness or injury can cause a discrepancy in length to develop over time. A slight difference in leg length may not cause symptoms but a significant difference can cause a noticeable limp and make it difficult for movement.

Causes

Leg length discrepancy may be caused by various reasons. A broken leg bone can lead to a leg length discrepancy if it heals in a shortened position. This is more likely to happen if the bone was broken into many pieces.

In other cases, the bones in the leg may be exposed to infection or diseases such as neurofibromatosis or ollier disease which will cause degeneration and hinder bone growth.

Symptoms

The effects of limb length discrepancy vary between patients, depending on the cause and size of the difference.

Patients who have differences of 3-1/2 to 4 percent of total leg length (about 4 cm or 1-2/3 inches in an average adult) may limp or have other difficulties when walking.

Patients with limb length discrepancies are more likely to experience low back pain and are more susceptible to injury.

Treatment

To treat leg length discrepancy, there are several things your doctor will consider before planning the treatment:

  • Size of the discrepancy
  • Age
  • Cause of the discrepancy

Patients with minor leg length discrepancies (less than 1 inch) and no deformity, treatment is usually nonsurgical in nature. Because the risks of surgery may outweigh the benefits.

Nonsurgical treatments may include:

Observation. If your child has not yet reached skeletal maturity, your doctor may recommend simple observation until growing is complete.

For a fully-grown adult, if wearing a shoe lift. A heel lift fitted to the inside or outside of the shoe can often improve a patient’s ability to walk and run. A shoe lift may also relieve back pain caused by a smaller leg length discrepancy.

However, if leg length discrepancy is more than 1 inch and shoes lifts are not providing adequate support, it is recommended to seek an orthopaedic doctor for advice on surgery.

 

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