Based in Nashville, TN, Perry Smith is the owner of Perry Smith Fitness Concepts. Trained in biomechanics, Perry Smith of Nashville, TN has also done presentations on risk analysis for sport-related injuries, and some causes of lower extremities injuries such as leg length discrepancy.
Also known as anisomelia, leg length discrepancy (LLD) occurs when there is significant variability in the lengths of the legs. Sometimes congenital, LLD can also result from other causes such as a trauma or an infection. For many years, LLD has remained a controversial issue among clinicians and researchers due to different speculations as regards the differences in length that should be considered clinically significant, the impact of LLD on the musculoskeletal condition, validity of measuring methods, and effect of LLD on function.
Many people have small differences in leg length that are less obvious and do not require treatment. In fact, many are not aware of the differences. If the difference measures more than 5 to 8 inches, however, a physical examination may be required. Discrepancy evaluation for LLD may involve obtaining standing x-rays to get accurate measurements.
In any case, treatment may be necessitated if the discrepancy compromises daily living. A very common conservative approach is using a shoe-lift which can help bring the shorter leg to a matching length with the longer one. If the difference is enormous, however, surgery may be recommended.