Leg Length Inequality & Scoliosis
Condition, Causes and Symptoms
Mild leg length inequality is common in children as the growth may not be symmetric at the same period of time. The shorter side stresses the body and stimulates the growth and it will eventually become balanced.
Asymmetric foot pronation could also induce leg length inequality as the higher the degree of pronation, the lower the joints drop towards the ground.
Lower back pain is also very common in long distance runners. Foot bio mechanics also play a role. Leg length inequality is known to cause lower back pain. If the leg lengths are different because the actual lengths of the bones are not the same, a heel raise placed inside the shoe will be effective to balance the inequality. However, a large number of the cases of leg length inequality are functional, which means there is no obvious difference on the lengths of each bones inside the two legs, but the joints alignment (e.g. foot pronation, knee hyperextension) of the two legs differs from each other and thus causes accumulated effect on the pelvic level. In such case, re-alignment may be more effective for treating the leg length inequality.
Prevention & Possible Treatment
These can be eliminated by the Bio mechanics Insoles that support the foot to their neutral positions. Unless the leg lengths are so much different that cause serious outcome such as moderate to severe scoliosis, heel raise on the shorter side is not recommended as it may suppress the growth stimulation and affect the normal growth of the shorter side.
In case of runners if they are found to be more pronated on one side, the level of pelvis may be corrected by simply correcting the foot pronation. If heel raise is used instead, the pelvic tilt can also be treated but the problems caused by foot pronation (e.g. ITB friction syndrome) will not be treated accordingly.