Is One of Your Legs Longer Than the Other?

HealthHearty Staff Oct 4, 2018
More than 50% of the global population has an actual leg-length difference, although most people assume that their legs are perfectly symmetrical. We provide some information about the test that may be used to understand the difference in leg length and various ways to treat it.
Most people assume that their legs are symmetrical but it is a known fact that over a half of the population has an actual leg-length difference ranging from as little as a quarter of an inch to up to three quarters of an inch. Plato also wrote about this leg difference as long as 2,500 years ago, so this has been a known fact for so long.
However we do not notice it at first as we got used to our image in the mirror as being symmetrical. It doesn't even cross our minds that we might actually have a leg longer than the other. In most cases, this leg length difference leads to back pain and eventually neck pain. However, it is not common in all cases.
To determine if one of your legs is longer than another, you need specialized help, but you may also find it out with the help of your partner. There are several methods of determining your leg length and a few are explained here.
In the pelvis obliquity test, you need a partner and a piece of wood around half inch in thickness, or a book that thick. It is preferable to be naked during this test, but if that is not possible you should wear tight shorts so that your body shape is visible.
Stand with weight on both feet equally distributed, and both feet pointing straight ahead. The most reliable indicators of leg-length difference in men are the lumbar muscles; in women, you should try to observe if one hip seems fuller or more rounded then the other.
Most people do not notice any difference at first glance and it may seem that nothing stands out. It is now when you need the book or the piece of wood mentioned earlier.
If you suspect that one hip is lower than the other, put the book under the longer leg first and ask your partner to stand with weight equally distributed on both feet, while feet point straight ahead. After this, you will see that the book distorts the shape of the spine, and the level of the hip is much more when it is placed under one foot than the other.
The test is more complex and there are several facts that need to be taken into consideration while performing this test. If the person is diagnosed with this condition, it is important to use heel inserts to reduce the problems.

The heel insert

The leg length difference is usually very small, however, it is often the very cause of back pain. Therefore, once you realize you might experience a similar condition, the most common and at hand solution is the heel insert.
So, insert a piece of rather incompressible material inside your shoe, which is equal in thickness but somewhat less than half of the length difference you have measured. The most widely used material is leather, and it has to be 3 or 4 inches in length, depending on the size of your feet. The front half inch should be tapered to avoid foot irritation.
Other materials are also available (closed-cell foam) from your chiropractor, podiatrists, and osteopaths or from the shoemaker in your town. You must see the difference in a week or two, namely less back pain and a better balance.
It is interesting to test yourself and see if your legs are really equal (as you've probably always thought they were), but keep in mind that the causes for leg length differences are multiple so even if you might find a length difference, it might be from another cause, not necessarily that one leg is really longer than another.