T Nation

One Shorter Leg


#1

My masssage therapist determined my one leg is little shorter than the other. The longer leg has always been my dominant leg and i thought it ws due to pelvic or uneven hip structure whether i was born with it or it occurred during child growth. I've heard this is normal and 50 % of people suffer from a shorter leg caused by functional or structural reasons. I don't suffer from any abnormalities resulting from this shortness such as knee or back problems.

So when lifting weights, I've tried to deal with it when doing lower body exercises like the squat and deadlift by compensating for it or focusing on unilateral exercises.

Does anybody know or tried any corrective measures to fix this shortness through a chiropracter, using shoe lifts or what not.


#2

I've been dealing with the same issue. There may be some underlying cause such as your joint alignment or imbalances in muscle lengths.

My best advice is to try to address any underlying issue (such as a tight QL on one side) before using any external devices such as shoe lifts etc. Unilateral movements, static and dynamic stretching, and tissue quality stuff (such as myofacial release) might be helpful in resolving your issue.


#3

what is QL? I usually undergo plenty of stretching, activating and foam rolling before my workouts. Focusing on the hip flexors and what not but i think it is a structural thing for me where my hips may be uneven due to a shorter leg, I'm not a PT or have actual x-rays done on my hip alignment so i don't know exactly what it is, but my therapist confimed that one leg is shorter and the femor of the shorter leg is smaller?

Case in point, if i do a single leg hip bridge, one leg i feel in the glutes, the shorter leg i feel it in the hamstrings. But for the big exercises like the BB squats i try to use the shorter or weaker leg more than the other leg to compensate, but often times the knees usually "caves" in. But it seems to working as i can feel it more. and with deadlifts, i set my shorter/weaker leg feet forward than the other and that seems to balance everything out.

Since i've been doing single leg exercises like SLRD, Bulgarian split squats, etc...I think that has help bring up the weaker leg to some extent. That and being able to do full squats almost ATG.


#4

QL = Quadratus Lumborum, a low back muscle that is responsible for "raising" the hips unilaterally (imagine the "rising" motion of the hip of your non-planted leg during walking).

Personally, I am willing to bet that your femurs are very close to the same length, and that poor hip alignment is what is causing you your problems. For example, my right leg is abducted and externally rotated compared to my left leg. You very well may have a completely different problem (or more likely multiple problems), but all the same I am willing to bet that it's an issue with joint allignment, and that muscle imbalances and poor motor patterns are responsible. If you are able to assess your static (standing) and dynamic (moving) posture, you may be able to figure out what your problems actually are.

As far as fixing it, you have to worry about a few different factors. One thing I didn't mention was movement quality or motor control. Make sure that your movements are similar between left and right sides when doing bilateral movements. Also, the unilateral work will probably be pretty helpful. The Single-Leg Squat to a box is one of my favorites.

If you make understanding and trying to correct your imbalances a high priority, you will definitely benefit in the long run.


#5

Raised up number of things that could be the culprit but i think it's a hip alignment issue, that i don't think can be fixed unless i go under the knife. Movement quality you mentioned can be ruled out because it's been already assessed and tested in both legs.

I think i need to see a licensed ART or chiro.


#6

blue, im feelin u man, uneven pelvis is so gay. but i mean if it wasnt surgery that put it out of alignment makes me think i can get it back into alignment without surgery aswell. im gonna give my one sided glute/pelvis workout a month and report back.