What is Leg Length Discrepancy?
A Leg Length Inequality or Leg Length Discrepancy is exactly as it sounds. One or more bones (the Femur or thigh bone, the Tibia or shin bone, and/or the joint spacing within the knee) are unequal in total length when measured in comparison to the same structures on the opposite side. It is common for people to have one leg longer than the other. In fact, it is more typical to be asymmetrical than it is to be symmetrical!
There are two anatomical factors that contribute to the development of leg length discrepancy:
Congenital Leg Length Discrepancy
Congenital, or the way your bones grew and formed from the time you were born. Keeping in mind that most Leg Length Discrepancy is inherited from one or both parents.
Acquired Leg Length Discrepancy
Acquired means that a particular trauma may have stunted the growth on one side, as in a broken bone, or perhaps as the result of an accident or a surgery to various boney structures or joints.
Beyond the two anatomical factors that can contribute to leg length inequality, there are two types of leg length discrepancies – anatomical and functional.
Anatomical Leg Length Discrepancy
This is also known as anatomical leg length inequality, which is a result of the bones (Femur and Tibia) not growing symmetrically.
Functional Leg Length Discrepancy
This is also known as functional leg length inequality, which is caused by muscular tightness, weakness and imbalance.
Leg Length Discrepancy Pain
What types of pain does it cause? As the body is connected via a series of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, being uneven on one side causes excessive wear. Thus, practically any joint from head to toe can be negatively affected.