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Characteristics of Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD)
LLD is a condition where the paired lower limbs are two different lengths. This condition can be further subdivided into:
1) Functional discrepancy (asymmetry of soft tissue) creating the appearance of an LLD. Often as a result of one and/or the combination of joint instability, ligamentous laxity and muscular imbalance. Functional discrepancies can create postural instability and abnormalities to the lower body and alter the mechanics and function of the joints which impact weight bearing and gait.
2) Structural discrepancy (physical/boney length difference of the femur or tibia) creating the discrepancy. A structural deformity can be present from birth (shorter limbs, scoliosis) or be acquired later in life from a trauma, injury or surgery.
– Pain and discomfort due to LLDs include: lower back pain, weakness to one side of the body with muscle aches and strains; arthritic changes to joints (hip, knee, ankle) to one side of the body; compensation injuries (other side of the body tries to help); odd gait/running patterns.