Short Leg

Short Leg

Leg Length Inequality ( AKA Short Leg)the skeleton of someone with a short leg

Recent studies have shown that up to 70% of the population have a structural short leg
(aka leg length inequality).
This is a large percentage but don’t let that alarm you, not all of these short legs need to be corrected. Generally speaking the body can manage with minor leg length differences (less than 4-5mm), however larger differences may require further intervention.


The Effect:

A structural short leg can cause a myriad of mechanical problems throughout the body. These problems are due to the body attempting to compensate for the inequality. Such compensations can occur in the:

  • FEET — the natural arch in the feet can drop on the long leg side (pronation) or increase on the short leg side (supination) possibly causing many feet problems.
  • KNEES — torsion or angulation through the knees may occur to facilitate pronation or supination of the feet resulting in higher likelihood of knee injury and pain. This may also occur in isolation to attempt to shorten a relatively longer leg.
  • HIPS / PELVIS — without total correction below the hips at the knees or feet, the pelvis will tilt to the shorter leg. This can cause hip pain, pelvic torsion and further cascade the likelihood of injury to other areas of the body.
  • SPINE – Some clients compensate in the lower back, middle back or neck as pelvic tilt heavily affects how the spine functions.This can cause pain in the lower and middle back and neck, as well as some types of headaches/migraines.Often patients present with minor to mild scoliosis that can be the result of a short leg.


How Patients Present:

Far too often clients present after years of pain and discomfort in one or more of the above areas that was caused by a short leg. Sometimes these aches and pains have already created irre­versible changes in the body (eg osteoarthri­tis/degeneration). This highlights the importance of addressing pain and stiffness sooner rather than later.

short leg deficiency and how it looks










In treating a short leg, a practitioner must first accurately determine the leg length inequality to prescribe an appropriate lift’ for the short leg. A “lift” is an insert placed inside a shoe to help even out any difference between the relatively long and short legs.

This is often coupled with foot orthotics to correct any biomechanical problems within the feet. Then, further physical therapy / manual therapy is often required to resolve any of the previously listed painful areas. This will aid in the adaptation of the body to the lift or orthotic and facilitate soft tissue healing in the symptomatic areas. 

Why Gladesville Healthcare can manage all aspects of short leg issues:
Due to the complex symptom profile that can occur with a short leg, a Podiatrist and a Sports Injury Therapist / Sports Chiropractor are often required to manage and treat the condition. At Gladesville Healthcare we have experienced practitioners that are experts in dealing with these conditions.


The practitioners at Gladesville Healthcare are able to test your leg length and have the equipment & materials to correct any inequality that may be present. Feel free to contact us to discuss your individual problems.


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Gladesville Healthcare Clinic
74 Morrison Rd
Gladesville NSW 2111.

Clinic Hours: Monday to Friday: By Appointment
Tel: 9816. 3071
Fax: 9816 2037

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