View Full Version : Leg Length Discrepancy and Scoliosis

20-01-2015, 06:43 PM
My 17 year old son was diagnosed with mild scoliosis late last year. He has a 4cm leg length discrepancy and this has caused the scoliosis. The Dr recommended surgery to lengthen the leg but thought it was best to have the op after he finished his HSC, so we have a year to hand out the painkillers and do some research. I was wondering if there are any studies showing the long term success of using shoe lifts etc vs surgery?. Is there any other way to fix the problem other than leg lengthening? Any advice would be great.

Dr Scoliosis
22-01-2015, 04:45 PM
Dear Annabelle,

Your son probably has a postural, rather than structural scoliosis. Leg length differences cause pelvic tilt and the spine bends to compensate. Unlike a structural scoliosis, there is no spinal rotation. That being said, large leg length differences can lead to structural curves.

In answer to your question, any leg length difference can be compensated for by a shoe raise. However, once that raise gets beyond 2 cm one is limited by the shoes that can be worn and the cost of altering multiple pairs of shoes. Gait also becomes awkward with large raises.

In general, for a 2 to 5 cm difference, the recommended treatment is to shorten the long leg. For differences greater than that, lengthening the short side is preferred. (These are general guides).

Leg length equalisation procedures are complex and really not the area of specialty of this website. I would recommend further discussion with your sonís specialist.

Dr S