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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


Heel Lifts for a Short Leg

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Orthopedic Conditions/Injuries

Heel lifts are used to treat patients that have one leg shorter than the other.  The goal is to balance your pelvis and have you walk evenly.  Various studies have found that at least 50% of all people have one leg shorter than the other.  This is known as Leg Length Inequality. (LLI)

There are three main causes of LLI: Firstly, your femur (thigh bone) and/or tibia (shin bone) does not grow evenly on both legs.  Secondly, fractures can shorten the leg.  Thirdly, hip and knee replacements change your leg length.

There are multiple problems that can arise when one leg is shorter than the other.  Usually, you will experience pain on just one side of your body.  For example, your low back may hurt only on the left side and not across the entire back.  Your pain can be anywhere in your body.  This may involve knee pain, hip pain, low back pain, shoulder pain or even up into your neck.  The body is designed to walk erect and balanced and will have various issues when you are uneven.

We evaluate you taking standing x-rays and looking at how your hip joints meet your pelvis.  This will tell us if one leg is longer than the other. Doctors disagree how important this is.  Some feel that your leg needs to be ½ inch or 1 inch shorter than the other before it will create problems.  We disagree.  We have found differences as little as 1/8 inch that cause various aches and pains.

Dr. Konicki (your author) has worn a ¼ inch heel lift for 30 years.  I broke my leg at the growth plate when I was 14 years old and lost some height in this bone.  I had no problems until my late 20’s and developed Achilles’ tendonitis for no reason.  A chiropractor found my leg to be short and put me in a ¼ inch heel lift.  Not only does it help my heel pain, but also I have no low back pain if I wear it.

Dr. Schumacher also wears a heel lift.  She has sacroiliac joint pain scoliosis and again, wearing a heel lift has been very helpful.  She still must take care of her back, do exercises and keep her muscles strong and flexible as well.

We treat LLI with manipulation to try to balance the pelvis as much as possible and then use the heel lift if need be.  There are very little risks to this.  You may have a flare-up and we simply remove the lift.  However, it is largely successful and always worth a try.

If you have one-sided pain somewhere in your body, you may have one leg shorter than the other.  Clothing that doesn’t fit equally, such as a shirt that falls off one shoulder repeatedly or pants that are never even may be your clue.  Chiropractic care is an excellent choice in dealing with this type of problem!

Copyright © 2012 - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and has practiced for many years in South Dayton. You can reach him at www.kschiro.com or 937-439-5400. Mail your questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

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