Posts Tagged ‘anatomical leg length differences’



Anatomical leg length differences and chronic recurrent lower back pain.

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

short leg before

short leg before


short leg corrected

short leg corrected

One of the most common causes of recurrent lower back pain and stiffness as well as sciatica is an anatomical short leg.   The patient will talk about having lower back pain and stiffness almost always on the same side of the body every time.  They have no history of trauma but have been suffering from the same complaint ever since high school.   The condition seems to get more significant as they age complaining the exacerbation last longer and intensifies in severity per occurrence as they age.  Many times they will have been to a Chiropractor, who on examination, will mention a short leg.  The patient may have wear on the bottom or their jean pant leg on the short leg side or wear on the outside heal of the short leg side.  They may have been told that they have a scoliosis.  If they are a runner they will have recurrent Ilio-tibial band discomfort on the long leg side or recurrent bursitis.  They may have even started developing medial knee pain or bunions as a result of the foot compensation and resulting pronation.

On X-ray exam you will see un-leveling of the  pelvis and femur heads.  The spine will either lean into the curve causing scoliosis formation on large deficiencies or compensatory leaning away from the short side both of which will cause disk wedging and premature wear of the lower lumbar disk and arthritic changes as a result.  The patient presents with neck and upper back symptoms as well due the leaning tower of Pisa affect.  IF the base of the spine is not level there will be stresses all up above which can cause recurrent neck and upper back pain as a result.

The answer can be as easy as leveling the pelvis with a shoe insert and/or an orthotic as well as restoring the function to the spine caused by the imbalance.  Here at Frostwood Chiropractic we take films of the spine prior to treatment to know the condition of the spine we are treating.  We measure the pelvic, and femur heights using the films so we know the height or the lift for the shoe.  The arches of the feet are also evaluated due to un-leveling that can occur if one arch has fallen as a result of the imbalance.  If you keep going to your Chiropractor and the same problem on the same side recurs maybe ask about this type of evaluation.  Chronic pain can lead to expensive steroid injections or even surgery if not treated appropriately.


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