One side of the human body doesn’t necessarily match the other perfectly. In fact, there is almost always a tiny disparity of size and length in a person’s hands, feet, arms, and legs. Think about it, a ring may fit on one hand but be tight on the other, a shoe may feel loose on one foot but be comfortably worn on the other. Most of the time these slight discrepancies in size are normal and have no bearing on an individual’s well-being. Leg Length Inequality or Short Leg Syndrome, unfortunately, is the Exception
According to the American Chiropractic Association, a study found 75% of subjects who suffered from lower back pain had legs that were slightly different lengths (5 millimeters or more). This condition is called Short Leg Syndrome, and causes a variety of issues for its sufferers. The symptoms can be quite severe, depending on the degree of difference in the leg length.
The premise of this condition is that the leg length inequality disrupts the body’s entire balance, possibly resulting in issues in the knees, hips, and back. The spinal system is designed to bear weight evenly, and, when one leg is shorter than the other, this places additional weight and stress on one side.
According to The Back Pain Authority, common causes of Short Leg Syndrome are a past history of fractures, hip or knee issues, or the individual was simply born that way.
Unfortunately, the condition often brings about recurring and sometimes intense spells of lower back pain and mobility issues for the patient. The good news is that once it’s diagnosed, the patient who commits to consistent treatment measures can manage the condition and resulting lower back pain.
Patients can choose two vital options that help control and manage Short Leg Syndrome’s symptoms:
Visiting an experienced chiropractor and mapping out a treatment plan for lower back pain caused by Short Leg Syndrome is a smart first step. Leg length inequality results in pain because it puts excess pressure and weight on one side of the body. Over time, this creates misalignment in the spine and stiff muscles and joints.
The unique tool of chiropractic health treatment is the spinal manipulation or “adjustment”. It may involve gentle pressure, a quick but gentle thrust, or mild traction and gentle stretching, to restore normal motion to joints that have become restricted or locked or misaligned (subluxated). While manipulations are sometimes performed by other physicians, Doctors of Chiropractic have the most extensive education, training and experience in spinal (and extremity) manipulations. Performing 94% of all spinal manipulations rendered in the U.S. Numerous scientific studies have proven the efficiency, safety, cost effectiveness, and high levels of patient satisfaction of chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic care including spinal adjustments re-align the spine, loosens up the body’s muscles and joints, and promotes healing. A series of visits helps the body gain its balance, and pain hopefully begins decreasing during this period.
However, depending on the degree of leg length inequality, chiropractic treatment alone may not be enough to manage the symptoms long-term. That’s where the second step presents itself as valuable.
Orthotics & Heel Lifts
Chiropractic care does wonders for helping individuals regain their spinal alignment and loosen the joints and muscles affected by leg length inequality, but the underlying issue of Short Leg Syndrome remains. The goal of an orthotic or heel lift is to balance out the legs, which in turn balances the hips and pelvis.
Your feet are the “foundation” of your health. Problems in the feet can set off a chain reaction of symptoms, including uneven shoe wear, irregular gait, arch pains, knee pain, back pain, and even headaches! If examination concludes that there is a problem, custom-made orthotics may be recommended to correct an anatomically short leg, pronation problems, and postural and structural abnormalities.
An orthotic equals out the weight, helping reduce the condition’s symptoms and resulting pain. A treatment of chiropractic care and orthotics gain great advantages over Short Leg Syndrome, and, when used together consistently, offer less pain and fewer recurrences.
An individual who suffers from recurring lower back pain should visit a chiropractor to pursue a diagnosis. If leg length inequality is the cause, patients must rest assured it is manageable in most cases with Chiropractic care and proper foot support with custom orthotics.
Talk with your chiropractor about the recommended regimen of chiropractic adjustments, and the possibility of utilizing an orthotic heel lift. Together, these two steps can decrease pain and the chances of recurrence, and increase overall mobility. If you or a loved one is suffering from this condition, please give us a call. Dr. Hoch is here to help!
Dr. Hoch (pronounced Hoke), is a 1988 Graduate of Peotone High School and a 1990 Graduate of Joliet Junior College. She Received both her B.S. in Human Biology (1991) and her Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) (1993) from The National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. She also received her graduate and post-graduate certifications in Acupuncture from NCC. This article is copyrighted and may not be copied or duplicated in any manner including printed or electronic media, regardless of whether for a fee or gratis without prior written permission of Dr. Hoch.