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Thread: Back injury and Scoliosis due to leg length difference

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1

    Question Back injury and Scoliosis due to leg length difference

    Hello. I want to share with you the kind of problem that I have. I am 30. When I was about 12 I noticed that when I woke up in the morning and walk, my right leg feels longer! My parents said that I am wrong. Later, when I was 21 I lifted a very heavy load badly, and I have a back injury since then: I feel pain and numbness in my right leg. A doctor at that time found that my right leg is nearly 1 inch longer which has resulted in scoliosis with a convex at left (I don't know about degrees), and therefore a pain at right leg after injury. Today, to improve the condition I use a lift in my left shoes, but only at the heel. Doctors say the best way is to use a comprehensive lift from heel to toes; in that case I would have to put on special shoes that do not look good. To improve the pain resulted from injury I tried several exercises advised by doctors, many of them worsen the situation. I have started swimming for about two weeks, I do breaststroke, front and back crawl. In general I feel a little better but sometimes the pain increases maybe because of some wrong moves in swimming. If you have a similar problem, or you have a suggestion or feedback, I would like to know about them.

    Adrian.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3

    shorter leg situation

    My left leg is about 3/8 of an inch shorter than my right leg. I discovered it over 30 years ago (I'm 55 now). It took a while to figure out just how much shorter one was than the other. I tried shoe lifts (used while walking and also running, which I do a lot of) from almost nothing to over an inch. What got me to figure out the correct distance (since without Xrays other measuring tools don't seem too accurate) I first exercises (mainly running) until my muscles were equal on both sides (my left side, with the shorter leg, had less developed muscles in my leg and my back). Once the muscles are pretty equal (they're still not quite equal after 25 years - maybe lifting weights would help) I can stand on a flat surface, put thin shims under my left foot and then feel when I feel level (for me, that's the 3/8 difference).

    When I started to work on making my muscles equal (mainly by running but without any lift in my shoe since it just caused my shoes to get bad fast and since with running I'm only one one foot at a time) my whole body started to shift. For two weeks, I had pretty bad pain in my legs as the stronger muscles shifted my leg around and put pressure on my sciatic nerve. I also had abdominal pains since it shifted the shape of my intestinal cavity and I had more gas trapped in the new twists, which caused gas pains.
    When over a year my shoe lift shrunk more and more (I was 2-3 felt pads then) I realized that my body was out of balance again. To get it back again, I had the two weeks of sciatic and intestinal pain.

    Was it worth it? Yes.
    I used to be very stiff. No, I'm no real flexible person now (I think my spine isn't right yet but it no longer curves sideways. I think it's too straight between the curve of my back to my shoulders and maybe weights would strengthen those muscles to help there). I no longer have the lower back problems that were getting worse and worse before I fixed myself.

    Another "problem" is that it feels funny to go bare footed. Also, a shoe lift can't be put in sandals very well. So, in summer when I'm wearing sandals or going bare footed more, when I'm standing, I just stand with weight on one foot. If it's my longer leg, my shorter one is kind of off the ground. If it's the shorter one, I put my longer one ahead of me or just let it bend at the knee.

    I'd bet that most people's back problems are related to different leg lengths. Since most people aren't in good physical condition, there's little hope for them, but using a shoe lift would help!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Hi Adrian...

    Because the pelvis often tilts in scoliosis, the only way to actually know if there is a leg length discrepancy is to have special xrays of both legs. I was also told that I had one leg 1" longer than the other, and wore special shoes when I was young. As it turns out, my legs are within the normal 3/8".

    Regards,
    Linda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    17
    Hi Adrian

    My right leg longer is than the left, but in addition to this (as Linda mentions), my pelvis is higher on the right side, which exaggerates the leg length discrepency. This causes me lower back/sacroiliac joint pain, particularly when I'm sitting.

    But walking is easier for me now because I have had all my left shoes raised up by 15mm. I started off with a heel lift, but like you, was advised that the whole foot needs to be raised. I must admit I was embarrassed by my 'special shoes' at first, and I just thought they looked awful. But I think its only me who is aware of them - no-one else notices unless I point it out. It does mean I can't wear high heels or shoes with fine heels - but then I'm assuming that wouldn't apply to you

    I think this has helped me, so it may be worth trying. It still doesn't solve the problem of sitting though, but at least its a start....

    Good luck

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