Have you Been Told you have a Short Leg?

Posted in Head Pain Disorders Back Pain Disorders on Dec 7, 2016

Have you ever been told that you have one leg that looks or feels shorter than the other? Approximately 50% of the population in North Lakes and Brisbane has a leg length inequality of 5mm or greater, which means that your legs are not the same length. However, anything over 3mm can make a significant difference to your knees, hips, and spine.

If that statement sounds incredible, walk around the house wearing one sock for a day and see if you notice a difference with the tone of your muscles in your lower back.

Is it a Structural or Functional Short Leg?

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There are two types of leg length inequalities. The first type is a structurally short leg, which means than one leg is physically shorter than the other. This occurs in about 10% of the population. The other type that appears in 40% of the population is a functionally short leg, which is an extension of the postural findings we mentioned in the previous section.

When your body's posture shifts and pulls one hip higher, your foot on that same side pulls up with it. So although your legs are the same physical length, the change in muscle and nerve tone makes it look like one is shorter than the other. Often, people will describe that it feels like they lean to either the left or right side.

How to Look for Yourself

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This imbalance is present no matter what position you are in, standing, or sitting, but it is easy to see when you lie down. This is something that your spouse, parents, or a friend will be able to help you see.

  1. Wear a pair of hard-soled shoes and lie face-down on a bed with your arms relaxed at your side. Your head must stay straight down throughout the test. To make it a bit more comfortable you can put a small pillow under your chest.
  1. Have your assistant apply equal pressure upward with his/her thumbs into the arches of both shoes.
  1. Do both legs appear to be equal in length when the bottoms of the shoes are parallel? Or does one leg appear to be shorter? If so, turn your head to the left and then to the right. Does that change things, even a little bit?

If the answer is "yes" in either case, that is a major indicator that something is wrong with your neck and that you are in need of a chiropractic adjustment. An exception to this rule happens if a person has a really far forward head posture: so much so that they have an exaggerated bump where their neck meets their shoulders.

With this test, their legs usually look level, but it is clear from their posture that something is still going on. A functional leg length inequality is one of the first tests that change when you have a chiropractic adjustment. We find that this test balances 90-95% of the time just by adjusting the upper neck.

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Have you ever been told that you have one leg that looks or feels shorter than the other? Upper cervical vertebral subluxation does not just cause a problem with the neck. It can cause a problem or pain with the entire body and even cause the appearance of a "short leg."

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