While a minimal difference in leg length may not cause symptoms, significant differences (3.5-4% of total leg length or about 1.66 inches in the average adult) can cause a noticeable limp and require extra effort to move.
Studies show that patients with limb length discrepancies are more likely to experience low back pain and are more susceptible to injury.
A limb length difference may simply be a mild variation between the two sides of the body. This is not unusual. Greater differences in length, however, can affect a patient's well-being and quality of life.
Causes of significant limb length discrepancy include injury to bone, bone infection, neurologic conditions, juvenile arthritis, and bone diseases (dysplasias).
In most cases, leg length discrepancies are differences in the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) sizes.
Treatment for discrepancies depend upon the severity.
In many cases, a minor difference in leg length can be remedied by wearing a lift in one shoe.
A combination of shoes and custom made orthotics are ideal for those with leg length discrepancy. Orthotics with proper arch support will fix misalignments.