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Is it common for one leg to be a bit shorter than the other?(15 posts)

Is it common for one leg to be a bit shorter than the other?Scott Rodman
Jan 17, 2002 8:07 AM
I think my right is a tad longer. Thanks.
It's almost universal. Your feet are different sizes, too.cory
Jan 17, 2002 8:21 AM
It's very common. Unless it's causing problems, just ignore it. If it is, a sports-minded physician can fix you up with orthotics (shoe inserts) to compensate. I read a story a few years ago about a guy whose legs were so different he had to use a 165mm crank on one side, a 170 on the other.
If you look at your face closely in a mirror, you'll see THAT doesn't match, either. Most people have one eye a little higher, one cheek fatter etc.
re: Is it common for one leg to be a bit shorter than the other?fuzzybunnies
Jan 17, 2002 8:24 AM
not to common and some thing you want to be careful of. People who have one leg a little shorter tend to develop a walk that has a tendancy to throw thier back out. usually fixed by a small change in the shoes. If you think one is really shorter check with a doctor. Russ
What are you talking about?Troyboy
Jan 17, 2002 8:58 AM
It's so so so common that, the above poster is correct, It's virtually universal. You'll also see that most people's ears are not exactly lined up to the millimeter, that the head is not an exactly symmetrical oval or round oval, that most women have very slightly differently shaped and sized breasts, etc., etc., etc.

It seems that no one has figured out how to make bone grow symmetically to the millimeter.

I would suggest to all what the above poster mentioned, go to a doc and get some orthotics.
What are you talking about?fuzzybunnies
Jan 17, 2002 5:53 PM
A tiny bit may be true but if it's enough that he's noticing it, it isn't common. You are right there is always a tiny difference, can you tell which of your legs is longer, if either is. Russ
re: Is it common for one leg to be a bit shorter than the other?TrekMan
Jan 17, 2002 9:21 AM
If I remember what I was told in biology class the majority of humans have a longer and more powerful right leg, the rest have a longer and more powerful left leg. That's why people walk in circles when they're lost in a forest or desert. You shouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two because it's so small. But if you can, or believe you can, best get it checked out by a doctor. As the above posters say it's just a change of shoes, or an insert to go inside them.
That's why people walk in circles when they're lost in a forestAhimsa
Jan 17, 2002 6:03 PM

Oh my!

That's funny!

We really need a "nonconventional wisdom" board around here! Think of all the problems we could solve simply by disseminating such crucial information as this to the general public!

TrekMan, you kill me bro!


It's common but is is a problem?McAndrus
Jan 17, 2002 9:44 AM
Do you have a problem or are you just curious? My left leg is about 1/2" shorter than my right. I was examined by doctor's when I was in the service. They said it wasn't affecting my spine so it shouldn't be a problem.

Mostly it's just an annoyance. I have to hem my slacks myself because tailors just can't seem to understand. On the bike you can use shims and such to create an equivalent leg length. In my case I adjust my cleats so that my right foot is a little further forward on the pedal.

I'd say if your difference is greater than a half-inch, I'd get it checked by a doctor.
Just checked mine. The right is longer. I never knew.firstrax
Jan 17, 2002 10:06 AM
Very commonlunchrider
Jan 17, 2002 11:58 AM
Most people are different but only a few have problems related to it.
My left leg is 1/2 inch short but gives me no trouble on the bike.
If I walk around normally my back hurts unless I wear a lift.
Jan 17, 2002 3:40 PM
Stand in front of the mirror butt-naked & barefoot . Note if one shoulder is higher than the other. The high shoulder is the short leg. The Long Leg over pronates & the short leg over supinates and so raises the Short-Leg shoulder above level so's the eyes may remain level. It's a Brain Thang i guess :)

Other interesting Anatomy FAQ's.
The length of your foot from heel to toe is exactly the same as the distance between your wrist bone & the end of your elbow. Try it :)

I always thought it was "buck" naked. Lets clear this up.Scott Rodman
Jan 17, 2002 4:32 PM
Is it butt naked or the aforementioned?
Clear as Muddbreck
Jan 17, 2002 6:15 PM
Either way, Scott. Both mean Bare Asse. "Buck naked" i suppose came from early encounter with the American Indian. "Butt naked" is prob more of a cutesy term.

In any event leg length discrepancy is typically no problem for just every-day walking. Runners encounter the most serious problems as they land with three times their body weight on each foot strike. A runner having no problems at say 35 miles per week, may start having knee problems bumping up the mileage to 55 mpw. Same idear with road bikers problem, then occurs with sudden increase in mileage, etc.

So called Leg length Discrepancy generally becomes a prob at 1/4 " or more. It causes the lower spine to bend. This is the "kink" the Chiropractors work on. The Running Podiatrists will want to fit you with either hard or soft orthotics. Hard orthotic are fitted by taking a plaster mold of your foot & modeling an orthotic in which the heel cup is the critical part to anchor the foot. Silicon soft orthotics are made from you standing; no molds are made; you get back a soft gel insert for the shoe. Both may /will require a larger shoe with a tighter heel fit.

For bicycling try cutting a shim from an old auto rubber inner tube, etc., using the Look, etc., cleat as a pattern and so increase the cleat height of the shorter leg. Start in 1/8 " increments and work up. Longer attachment screws will be required. Another Clue you may have a problem is that typically if the saddle is pointed straight, it will eventually drift and point away from the longer leg.

Problems typically occur when you crank up the mileage; tough hills; mashing gears; too high a gear for the hill; too low a cadence. That is, anytime you over stress the legs. The shorter leg will show stress on the outside of that foot & shoe. This foot is already over supinated to begin with.

If you choose to seek professional help do not say it is bike or run related as Insurance Companies are apt not to pay. Say the pain is simply walking related and then confide in the podiatrist, etc. the true prob. They hear it everyday.

If you are near Long Beach, Cal. try Dr. John Pagliano Podiatrist. Chiropractor, Dr. John Koningh in Newport Beach. Both are sports professionals. Others in various locations may provide their favorite.

But If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Back problems can be caused by both leg length discrepancy & weak stomach muscles.

Clear as MuddSub
Jan 17, 2002 10:24 PM
it is common to have one leg shorter than the other, but not considered normal. As a chiropractor, I see this quite often and it is fixable in 99 percent of the cases I have treated. there is a very small percentage of the population that actually has one shorter leg, less than one percent, the rest are caused by spinal/pelvic problems and are easily fixed. I have taken as much as an inch and a half of leg difference and leveled out both the pelvis and the legs. so you have a choice, take the advice of a Dr. that has treated thousands with this problem, or listen to the others. It is a problem, and you have a choice, deal with it before it hurts, or deal with it after.

Welcome back! nmLen J
Jan 18, 2002 4:33 AM