Is Your Backache Caused by Your Leg Length?
Well it could be. Are your legs the same length? Do you have a Limb Length Discrepancy? When you stand, is one foot flattening or collapsing whilst the other one stands up straight? Do you suffer from chronic back pain?
During the past few weeks, we have been people of all age groups with significant differences in the length of their legs. Limb Length Discrepancy or LLD as we call it. This condition causes all sorts of problems and pains. people complain of pain in the lower back, between the shoulder blades, in the knees, in the soles of the feet, at the heels and at the ball of the foot.
Usually the longer limb gives the most trouble and the typical view the podiatrist gets is of a person who rolls from side to side as they walk with one shoulder higher. In technical terms the condition is referred to as being Functional or Measurable.
The LLD can be very subtle and is often difficult to spot, especially if the person is an athlete or physically fit. This is because well-toned muscles enable the body to compensate for the oddity in structure. We usually diagnose it visually during a biomechanical examination and gait analysis.
There are signs such as spinal curvature – scoliosis – dropped shoulders on the side opposite to the short limb plus some changes in arm swing. The diagnosis of a Functional LLD is confirmed by something called a Scanogram, which is carried out by a radiologist.
The management requires teamwork involving podiatrist, physiotherapist and biokineticist, because it is easy to jump in with heel raises or to buy ready-made devices from the pharmacy without fully analysing the components of the condition.
More on this tomorrow