Biomechanical Podiatry

Issues Caused by Limb Length Difference

Do You Have A Limb Length Difference?

At Elite Foot Care we will always check for the possibility of a limb length difference as part of our assessment.

In addition to this, we will also determine if it’s a true structural limb length difference or what we refer to as a functional limb length difference. 

What’s the difference?

A structural limb length difference means the actual bones in the lower leg, when measured, are different lengths, whereas a functional limb length difference means the bones in the legs are the same length, however when you stand it looks like one leg is shorter than the other, and the hips are visually uneven.

A functional limb length difference can be caused by a range of things, including muscles tightness in the lower back hips, spinal scoliosis or other soft tissue issues around your core and hip structures.

There is a high level of importance regarding determining whether your limb length difference is structural or functional – as the recommended treatments vastly differ.

The Best Way to Measure

Simply looking at the level of the hips while you are standing or looking at x-rays of the hips is not an accurate way to determine if a limb length exists.

A best way, and what we do at Elite Foot Care is to manually measure the right and left legs by picking a particular point in the front of the hip, and a second point on the inside of the ankle bone.

This method will give a more accurate guide as to determining if there is a true limb length difference exists. If they measure the same length, but visually your hips look uneven, then we can confidently say that you have an apparent limb length difference.

If we are unable to accurately determine your limb length difference, we may utilise a full-length x-ray to provide a very detailed assessment of your leg length and alignment.

Benefits of Podiatry

Here’s where our skill as podiatrists comes into play and what sets us apart from every other health profession. A patient can have both, meaning the legs can be different lengths and there can also be muscle tightness in the lower back. 

If a structural limb length problem is identified, a simple heel lift can be made, to the appropriate height requirement, and placed within the shoe.

A heel lift, up to 10mm can easily be made on the spot during a consultation, or the heel lift can be added to an existing orthotic insole device. Heel lifts greater than 15mm may need to be added to the outside of the shoe.

If you have a functional limb length difference, long-term use of heel lifts is not a good idea as it can lead to further muscular problems in the back. Once again, highlighting the importance of a proper assessment from our podiatrist.

If you’ve had ongoing foot, knee, hip and back problems that have not responded to other therapies, please consider seeing one of our highly trained podiatrists to see if a limb length difference exists. 

Our Senior Podiatrist Discusses Limb Length Difference

To make an appointment at Elite Foot Care, please phone (07) 5328 3588 and one of our friendly team will find a suitable time for you. 

Sports Podiatry

Podiatrists Working in Sport

How can podiatrists benefit athletes and sports teams?

  1. Prevention

Injury prevention plays a very key role in both individual and team performance. Large sporting bodies including UEFA (soccer) have scientifically proven that teams with less injuries will have greater success when compared to other teams.

Our podiatrists have experience in screening and implementing preventative protocols for all lower limb injuries – including hamstring injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries and much more. With a thorough understanding of the most up-to-date research we are able to formulate our prevention programs to the highest of qualities.

What is included in our injury prevention models?

  • Quantified strength assessments: We utilise modern validated methods to quantify your strength and compare our findings with normative values. We will establish any strength deficits which may contribute to injury risk.
  • Gait (walking and running) assessments: With our video gait analysis we are able to record and accurately review your gait patterns – with considerations on whether this may influence your risk of injury or reduce your performance.
  • Flexibility assessments: Range of motion is very important. We will always include thorough range of motion testing from the hip joint to the big toe!

The findings of your assessment will allow a personalised and tailored program to ensure the risk of injury is minimised.

  1. Maintaining Peak Performance

Everyone enjoys results. All our hard work is often reflected on our 5km time, our throwing distance or how far we can jump. Podiatrists can work with other health professionals to ensure you remain your best one step at a time.

Similar to our screening and prevention assessment, our podiatrists undertake a needs analysis of you and your sport – ensuring we have a full understanding of what is involved. This may include the strength and conditioning demands, the high impact movements involved or the busy training and playing schedule which you have ahead.

As mentioned previously, working as a team is pivotal. We acknowledge the importance of liaising with coaching staff, your strength and conditioning coaches or other key personnel (physiotherapists, chiropractors or doctors).

  1. Injury Diagnosis and Rehabilitation

Hip to the toes, our podiatrists have seen it all. Working with the lower limb every day allows us to refine and improve our knowledge on all lower limb sporting injuries. Our podiatrists will see niggling hip injuries, acute hamstring injuries or ankle and foot injuries all within a day in the clinic.

An accurate diagnosis is important when optimising your personalised injury rehabilitation. Podiatrists have the ability to refer for imaging (if necessary) to ensure we identify the severity of an injury. Once established we will take the time to inform you on the condition. We take pride in having our patients leave our clinic well informed with no question leaving unanswered.

Exercise-based rehabilitation has become a mainstay in ensuring the most optimal recovery of soft tissue or joint injuries. Any muscle strain, or joint sprain can create a significant impact on strength and tissue health. If the injury is not addressed appropriately, athletes have a higher risk off re-injury.

Stay tuned over the upcoming months as our podiatrists begin to breakdown common sporting injuries, how we can address these injuries and how to prevent these injuries reoccurring.

Our Podiatry clinics are located within Sippy Downs and Woombye. Our podiatrists look forward to seeing you in the clinic, keeping you fit and active one step at a time.