Effect Of Leg Length Discrepancy On Lumbar And Spine Pain

Effect Of Leg Length Discrepancy On Lumbar And Spine Pain

Effect Of Leg Length Discrepancy On Lumbar And Spine Pain

Apparently, more people suffer from Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) than you thought. LLD is more common and can cause back and pelvic pain, although it is, to date, a very controversial topic.

LLD can be further classified into two parts, one “Structural Deformities” and the second “Functional Deformity.”

 

Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) because of a Structural Deformity:

As the name suggests, any deformity in the human skeleton is a structural deformity. This is related to issues with bone growth. If one leg bone grows a little less as compared to the other, it is a structural deformity. This can be caused by a broken leg at birth time or other trauma later on. The structural deformity causes a lot of pressure on the pelvic region and can cause it to deform and tilt. It is a physical issue, and, in some cases, it is quite visible, like in a person’s gait. When there is a considerable length difference between the two legs, a person cannot keep his or her balance and has to walk with a limp. The limp cause additional strain on the back and can result in spinal deformity and back pain. According to a study by physical therapists Yvonne Golightly and Dr. Joanne Jordan, the structural deformity can also cause knee and hip pain as well in the shorter leg.

Treatment of structural deformity, on the other hand, is easier compared to functional deformity, though. In most cases, this can be treated by using shoe inserts (insoles) or increasing the shoe heel size for the shorter leg.

 

Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) because of a Functional Deformity:

The functional deformity is when there is no noticeable physical deformity but due to muscle strain and tightness. Patients with functional leg length discrepancy (FLLD) are more prone to back and associated pain. The exact cause of FLLD is hard to determine and people suffering from it have to experiment as to what works best for them. Patients with FLLD can benefit a lot from alternative therapies like Chiropractic, Massage and Physical Therapy.

In these therapies, muscles are targeted and massaged to release tension. In addition to massage, in physiotherapy, exercise is also prescribed where the affected muscles are strengthened. Due to the lateral pelvic tilt, increased compression on the facet joints of the short side decreases spacing in vertebrae leading to pinched nerves known as sciatica.

 

How can Physiotherapy Help?

In both cases, whether structural or functional deformity, physiotherapy can alleviate the pain and help in rehab. In physiotherapy, we start with taking history and taking the diagnosis into account. An exercise plan that includes a focus on your leg, knee, hip, pelvis and spine. Directly or indirectly, all these joints and muscles are under lots of stress and strain. By alleviating the pain and using exercise techniques to strengthen the muscles, the patient’s posture is corrected.

In case of a structure deformity, if a patient is prescribed an insole or a shoe heel, the patient is guided and helped to adjust to the change in the height of the leg. A complete rehab procedure is followed to make sure that the patient gets accustomed to their new height and that they do not fall or bump into objects.

Since in FLLD, any number of muscles can cause discomfort, we start by focusing on all the possible causes and keep on eliminating those that aren’t causing discomfort. In the end, we are left with the root cause and all focus is shifted to treating and strengthening the muscles, causing pain.

At Unique Care Rehabilitation, we have the required facilities to help alleviate pain caused by the Leg Length Discrepancy and help rehab and get used to any physical aides that are prescribed.

 

References:

[1] https://www.hss.edu/files/leg-length-discrepancy-functional-scoliosis-low-back-pain.pdf

[2] https://www.caringmedical.com/prolotherapy-news/leg-length-discrepancy-causing-hip-back-pain/

[3] http://www.atlantabrainandspine.com/limb-length-discrepancy-and-lower-back-pain/

[4] https://www.physio-pedia.com/Leg_Length_Discrepancy

[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966636217302102?via%3Dihub

[6] https://healthtalk.unchealthcare.org/can-a-short-leg-cause-knee-or-hip-pain/

 

 

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