Short Leg Syndrome

Short Leg Syndrome is a diagnostic term referring to pain and disability as a result of having one leg shorter than the other. 90% of the population has one leg 5mm or more shorter than the other. In one study, 2/3 of the people with a leg length inequality (LLI) of 5+mm had a history of low back pain. The greater the LLI the more likely the individual will experience low back pain or notice that they need to get the length of their trousers hemmed to different lengths. LLI is one of many causes of scoliosis, a lateral curve of the spine, figure 1. A scoliosis due to LLI is called a postural or a pelvic tilt scoliosis.

There are two types of leg length inequalities: functional and structural. Functional leg length inequality means the leg bones are the same length but one appears shorter than the other and the body functions as if one leg is short. Functional leg length inequalities are commonly due to pronated feet or twisted spines subsequent to injury.

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