How Orthotics Can Help with Leg Length Discrepancy
There are times when you are going to find that your legs are not the same length. This can happen when you have an injury that can make you compensate more with one leg compared to the other, but some people may just find that one leg is longer than the other due to the legs not growing the same during adolescence.
This may seem like a minor problem, but when you walk with one leg longer than the other, it not only causes a limp that others may notice, it can put the rest of the body out of alignment, which can cause back pain, hip pain, and more.
Finding a good solution to handle the different lengths of your legs will make a huge difference in your level of comfort. One solution that many patients are going to choose is a pair of orthotics.
You can choose a pair that has a little lift on one side, helping to elevate the leg and make it seem better, and fix the issues from the limp. Let’s take a closer look at how an orthotic will be able to help with leg length discrepancy and whether this is a solution that you should consider too.
What is Leg Length Discrepancy?
Leg Length Discrepancy, which is often known as LLD, is actually the medical term for when one leg is longer compared to the other leg. Almost everyone is going to have a slight difference between their legs, but if the difference is less than a centimeter, then it is usually not noticeable and the patient will never seek out treatment for it.
When there is a larger discrepancy than one centimeter, then the patient may start to notice a number of symptoms along the way. They may need to talk to their doctor to determine whether there is a good treatment plan to help reduce the symptoms and keep the body safe and healthy.
Functional Leg Length Discrepancy and Structural Leg Length Discrepancy
There are two types of LLD that you can deal with, structural and functional. When we talk about structural LLD, the tibia, femur, or both will be significantly different in both legs when you measure them. Some patients will have this issue at birth. Some may have it due to a bone disease, an injury, or a surgical procedure.
There is also a functional LLD. This is where all of the bones are the same length, but there are going to be some issues with the muscles that cause a number of alignment problems, which make the legs act the same as if they were different sizes. The symptoms of both of these are going to have the same symptoms in most cases.
What are the Symptoms of Leg Length Discrepancy?
Leg Length Discrepancy, whether you are dealing with structural or functional, can cause you to have a number of different symptoms that you will need to deal with. It is common for the patient to have lower back pain or even lower leg and back injuries, without any clear cause for why they have that.
They may also find that it is hard for them to stand up straight for too long, lift objects from a lower height, or even bend over when they need to get something. On the side of the body that is impacted, it is common to feel pain in the hip, knee, or foot. You may feel like you are leaning over to one side or that you need to shift your weight to maintain balance.
It is easy to hide some of the symptoms of LLD if you are used to it being there. But since you are doing all of the overcompensation, moving or walking for longer periods of time can end up fatiguing those who have LLD in the first place.
Orthotics Can Help with Leg Length Discrepancy
When you are suffering from Leg Length Discrepancy, you may want to consider getting a pair of custom orthotics to assist. These can help in several ways to ensure that you are able to get the best results overall.
While it is possible that LLD is going to be a permanent condition that you will need to deal with, it is possible to use orthotics to correct it in the most non-invasive way, without surgery and a lot of pain. If the issue will not heal on its own, then you may be able to talk with your doctor to prescribe these insoles.
Do not choose orthotics for your LLD without talking to a doctor first. They will be able to measure them out and make sure that you are getting the perfect amount of lift, without adding too much so that the problem is simply reversed to the other leg.
Heel lifts are often used with the custom orthotic to help with the LLD. Heel lifts will simply be placed under the heel to raise it and make sure that it is level with the rest of the foot at the same time. The type of heel lift that you go with is going to depend on the needs of the patient and how much height they are going to need in the first place.
For some patients, you will need to consider getting an orthotic that helps to correct the arch in the foot. These inserts are a bit different because they will lift up the arch, which could be flat and may be one of the original causes of your LLD. Adding in the arch support can put the foot back in alignment and solve some of the problems you have with LLD.
A third option is going to combine the two other choices together, adding a heel lift to the orthotic as well as a customized arch insert to correct fallen and flat arches as well. If you have several problems with the foot when you get the orthotics, then these may be the best choice for you.
Because there are so many causes of LLD, the shoe inserts that you choose for it will be custom and you need to work with a doctor to look over the LLD and create it for you, based on the severity of the problem. Your doctor will be able to measure the legs and check on the LLD to ensure the orthotic can actually do the work that they promise.
Leg Length Discrepancy Patients Need an Orthotic Shoe Lift
Most patients who suffer from LLD will need to get a lift added to the shoe through the orthotic. This allows the shorter leg to get lifted up to the right height, providing them support and helping solve some of the issues. But you may wonder how the lift is going to be added to the orthotic.
Depending on the lift amount that is required, it is possible that the lift is going to be added with the shoe under the orthotic or right to the middle of the shoe. Your doctor will be able to help determine which one is going to make the most sense for your needs. It can also depend on the amount of height that you need to be added to help fix the problems with LLD.
In many cases, your lift is added to a custom orthotic or the footbed of the shoe that you wear. This will assume that the shoe has enough length and depth, the lifts up to 1 cm or so will be placed inside the shoe. This is preferable because it is hidden so no one knows that you have it and you will be able to fix the problem without bringing attention to yourself.
How Do I Pick the Right Orthotics for Leg Length Discrepancy?
It is best to not pick out the height of the lift on your own, even if you can tell you have LLD on your own. You should work with a doctor. They will complete a scanogram x-ray to check the length of both legs and figure out the exact difference between the two before making the lift. This ensures that you get the right amount, without overdoing it and causing more trouble.
Getting a Custom Orthotic for Leg Length Discrepancy
When one leg is longer than the other, it is a good idea to find a treatment that will help fix the issue and ensure that you are able to walk normally without a limp or other problems that can harm the rest of the body. Choosing a custom orthotic that has a little lift in it, determined by your doctor, can make a world of difference and keep you safe.
Our team is happy to work with you on leg length discrepancy and will be able to discuss the different treatment options that may be effective for your feet. We can answer your questions and show you just how custom orthotics will help to solve the problem for you. Take our free analysis to help determine what type of orthotics will be best for you.
If you have decided that a pair of custom orthotics makes the most sense for your feet, give us a call or leave your information so we can provide you with the relief that you deserve.