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Thread: Short leg?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Short leg?

    Hey all

    Does anyone else have one short leg as well as scoliosis? I'm slightly confused by my case. Usually it seems like the shorter leg is on the side with the higher hip, so the leg is being pulled upwards, but in my case my short leg seems to be on the side with my lower hip (my right).

    So I wonder if my femur bone is structurally shorter on my right than my left, so my hip has tilted downwards to try and get my feet level, which might have caused my lumbar scoliosis. When I stand with my hips level as possible my right foot is about half an inch above the floor.

    I know my mum has un-level hips too, and my aunt has one leg longer than the other.

  2. #2
    tonibunny's Avatar
    tonibunny is offline T Sr: Big Sister & Da Police ~ SSO Legend, Always remembered.
    Join Date
    Jan 1970

    Default Re: Short leg?

    Having one leg shorter than the other is known as a leg-length discrepancy (LLD) in medical terms. It can certainly cause scoliosis, though everyone has a LLD to some extent, and it most cases it only tends to have an effect if the LLD is marked.

    It's also possible to have the *appearance* of a LLD, caused by the hip adductor muscles shortening on one side as a result of muscle imbalances caused by scoliosis, which draw the femur up and in.

    Because of this, it is really, really difficult for a patient to work out whether their LLD is a symptom or a cause of their scoliosis - or even if any perceived LLD is at all significant next time you see your spinal surgeon, ask them if they can check for you - there are various measurements that can be done using certain points on the hips and legs which allow doctors to discern whether a LLD exists. The measurements are taken with you sitting up, standing up and lying down. X-rays can help to confirm a LLD but the first step is to have these measurements done.

    Some people who have a genuine LLD can have the appearance of scoliosis without the scoliosis actually being structural. This is called "functional scoliosis" and can often be fixed simply by having a shoe insert to even their leg lengths up. Sometimes this sort of "functional scoliosis" will disappear when the patient is sitting on the edge if an examination table, as their spine isnt then affected by how they are standing. However, a longstanding "functional scoliosis" can occasionally lead to a person developing "structural scoliosis" (ie "true" scoliosis) if it has been there for a long time.

    Sorry if this doesn't make a lot of sense - it is pretty complex for something that should sound fairly straightforward! Definitely ask your consultant next time you see them though
    [SIZE="1"]37 years old, diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis at 6 months old with curves of 62(T) and 40(L) degrees. Casting and Milwaukee braces until surgery at 10 - ant release/pos fusion T1-T12, halo traction. Post op cast and then TLSO. Further surgery at 18 (ant release/pos fusion extended to L3 to include lumbar curve, costoplasty) and 25 (another costoplasty). Fusion extended to L4 at 33 (XLIF with 4 pedicle screws and two short rods). Pre-op curves: 76(T) and 70(L). Post-op curves: 45(T) and 35(L). Diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome aged 34; scoliosis almost certainly due to this rather than being idiopathic.[/SIZE]

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