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Can Chiropractic Therapy Treat Uneven Leg Length?

Jul 6

Leg length inequality is one of the most frequent things that chiropractors examine. Leg length disparities have an effect on the entire body, which makes this examination crucial. There are a few ways that Houston chiropractors can determine if there is a leg length discrepancy. Also, there are two known types of leg length discrepancy.


Functional leg length discrepancy

This leg length discrepancy more significantly impacts the larger population. This disparity develops due to compensating biomechanical alterations in the spine caused by a lateral pelvic tilt, which pulls up one leg. As a result, the difference in leg lengths might be anything from 5 to 30 millimeters.


Unfortunately, because it can be challenging to detect these minute differences in leg length, many people are unaware of them. Poor posture, lower back pain, lower limb pain, balance concerns, walking with a limp (minor or significant), unequal shoulder heights, an elongated upper torso, and a tilted head are some of the usual signs and symptoms of leg length inequality.


Anatomical leg length inequality

The only cause of this less frequent type of leg length inequality is a structurally shorter leg when there is a real discrepancy in bone length. This type typically results from a congenital disability (having it from birth) or from aberrant growth patterns during adolescence. This implies that previous physical trauma or surgery could be the culprit.


As for how the chiropractors determine the case, the patient is asked to lie down on their back with both legs extended. The chiropractor will then measure from the hip joint to the anklebone on both sides. If one side is longer, there is likely a leg length discrepancy.


Another way to determine if there is a leg length discrepancy is by having the patient sit on a chair with their feet hanging over the edge. The chiropractor will measure from the hip joint to the anklebone and compare the two sides.


The third way to measure a leg length discrepancy is using a unique tool called a leg length discrepancy meter. This device is placed on the patient's back and measures from the hip joint to the anklebone.


What Causes Disparities in Functional Leg Length?


Simply put, a functional leg length discrepancy linked to a lateral pelvic tilt happens as a compensatory biomechanical alteration in response to physical, physiological, and/or emotional pressures, just like with any spinal abnormality (chiropractic subluxation). Regarding physical strains, lateral pelvic tilts can be brought on by factors like exhaustion, bad posture, or significant or minor injuries.


Leg length discrepancy is a problem since it has ripple effects throughout the body. First off, an uneven leg length creates an uneven base for the remainder of the spine and upper body. Our musculoskeletal system adopts deformation patterns that are compensatory as a result.


Skeletally, this entails spinal disorders that result in motions like shoulder and head tilts. This causes muscular imbalances because some muscles are turned on and are tighter, while others are turned off and are weaker. The entire body's ligaments are likewise impacted, becoming more tense or lax. It is crucial to realize that these distortion patterns also significantly impact our nervous system, which is in charge of everything we experience or have conscious or unconscious control over.


Together, this restricts our functionality, mobility, and range of motion. From a mechanical standpoint, it leads to improper posture, undesirable strains on our bodies, and uneven weight distribution. Due to the fact that our bodies are built to support weight equally, this is a problem. 

As a result, over time, the rate of wear and tear throughout our body, especially on the side with extra weight, increases due to an uneven weight distribution caused by an uncorrected leg length disparity (lateral pelvic tilt). The resulting muscle imbalances and ligament alterations increase the likelihood of injuries.


While prescription drugs, massage, and other treatments may lessen the discomfort from unequal leg lengths, they don't deal with the fundamental problem. Your chiropractor may start by figuring out if your leg length disparity is functional or anatomical if you have one. If the problem is anatomical, your chiropractor might advise orthotics heel lifts to level the pelvis or might even choose to co-manage with a podiatrist.


At Peak Potential Family Chiropractic - Houston Heights, we will conduct a thorough examination to determine if you are suffering from functional leg length discrepancy and, if so, develop a plan to address the root cause of the problem. Don't suffer needlessly. Call us today!