Leg Length Differences. Real or not.

If you have chronic back pain it’s definitely worth having an experienced physiotherapist check you for leg length differences. Often I see this in the clinic, and often it can be addressed by performing a few treatments with the patient following a carefully planned out home program. We have physiotherapists at Mawson Lakes Physiotherapy and at Health Moves Physiotherapy in Edwardstown who can do this.


Leg length differences can cause scoliosis and other problems in the spine such as ongoing back pain. It can also cause problems in the leg. It can contribute to early degenerative changes in the hip, including Osteo Arthritis, as well as knee pain.


Tight Structures Around the Pelvis Could Be At Fault

It’s quite common for our physiotherapists in Mawson Lakes and Edwardstown to see people suffering with low back pain who appear to have one leg longer than the other, but in fact their legs are equal. Instead tension around the pelvis makes one leg appear longer. An example is where a tight right hip abductor pulls the right side of the pelvis down. This is still a problem as it produces a scoliosis (an S-shaped spine) and can contribute to ongoing back pain. Not just low back pain, but pain in the thoracic spine and neck region.


Small leg length differences of 1.5cm are generally considered to be insignificant. But these differences can still be addressed by your physiotherapist. Even when the difference is much greater treatment can help.

True leg length differences will also cause scoliosis in the spine, and may cause early degenerative changes to the hip, knee and ankle if left unaddressed. These patients will often wear a heel raise or benefit from having the sole of one shoe built up.

An assessment by one our experienced physiotherapists is worthwhile. It can identify and address the cause of a leg length difference and minimise any consequences.