Uneven Leg Length and Sports Injuries: Should Your Child See a Physio?

Health & Medical Blog

While many people have legs that aren't exactly the same size and manage to get through life without any problems or the need for treatment, uneven leg lengths may put you at a higher risk of sports injuries. If your child has one leg that is longer than the other, plays a lot of sport and is prone to pain or injury after exercise, then a physiotherapist may be able to help.

Leg Length and Sports Injuries

While different leg lengths may not make much of a difference to children's everyday lives, exercise may bring some problems to light. When you have one leg that is longer than the other, your body has to compensate by moving into unnatural positions to keep both feet on the ground. For example, one side of your hips may sit lower than the other rather than both sides being on the same level.

If your child takes part in a lot of sports or does one sport that involves repetitive movements, such as running, the effects of their uneven leg lengths on their posture, stance and body positioning may put extra stress on the feet, legs and back. Even a small leg length difference that wouldn't otherwise need treatment may cause pain and damage such as regular ankle sprains, for example.

If you think that your child's legs are causing their post-exercise pain or sports injuries, it's worth trying to find a way to compensate for length discrepancies by consulting a physiotherapist.

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapists can assess your child's leg lengths and their effects on your child's posture, gait and movement. This assessment gives them useful information on any biomechanical problems your child's legs may be causing. If your physio thinks that uneven leg length is the root cause of the problem, they may advise that you find a way to fix the length discrepancy or to compensate for its effects.

For example, your physiotherapist may recommend that your child wears an orthotic lift or shoe insert during exercise. These appliances can make the shorter leg match the longer one by giving it a small platform to stand on. This effectively makes legs the same length. You may find that this simple fix cures your child's problems; it evens up the hips and reduces the body's need to compensate for unequal leg lengths.

In some cases, your physiotherapist may recommend stretching, flexibility and strengthening exercises to help fix compensatory problems that may be causing specific injuries, such as ankle sprains. When you have uneven leg lengths, your shorter leg typically takes the strain of your weight, putting extra stress on its muscles, tendons and ligaments. These parts of your longer leg may also become stiffer or weaker than they should be. An exercise program may help deal with some of these problems, making key areas stronger and more flexible to hopefully reduce the risks of future injury.


23 May 2016

Common Health Problems and Solutions

Hello, my name is Catherine and this is my blog all about health and medical topics. I was inspired to start this blog by my husband who works in a hospital. He isn't a doctor, he works in a lab testing blood samples. However, he is extremely interested in medicine. When his grandma got sick, he quickly established what might be wrong and got her all the help she needed. Sometimes is the evening, we sit and read textbooks and talk about medicine. It sounds insane but we both really like it. I decided to start this blog to show off some of what I have learnt.