Leg Length Discrepancy

Also known as: LLD.

What is leg length discrepancy?

Most people have a slight difference in the length of their legs. Studies have shown over 30 percent of the population to have a leg length discrepancy of 0.5 to 1.5 cm. Most clinicians consider discrepancies less than 2 cm to not significantly affect function. When the difference in leg length is significant, it can cause difficulties with mobility and development. This is a medical condition known as leg length discrepancy, or LLD.

What causes leg length discrepancy?

Leg length discrepancy in a young child may indicate a congenital anomaly or can occur without an identifiable cause, but in many cases, it is the result of another condition, such as a prior fracture, infection, genetics, or other orthopedic condition.

What are the symptoms of leg length discrepancy?

Many children with leg length discrepancy have no symptoms at all, but some may have trouble walking, develop pain, or have an asymmetric appearance. Long-term consequence of untreated leg length discrepancy may include arthritis, back pain, and scoliosis.

What are leg length discrepancy care options?

Minor problems related to leg length discrepancy may be treated by placing a lift in the shoe of the affected leg and observing to make sure the problems do not grow worse. Custom braces or prostheses can be made for severe congenital deficiencies. Surgery is also a common treatment for leg length discrepancy. Surgery may include shortening or lengthening procedures, but families should know there are always options such as epiphysiodesis.

Reviewed by: Daniel K Ruggles, DO

This page was last updated on: August 03, 2023 12:30 PM

Limb Lengthening and Deformity Correction Program

Life-changing results for children in need of limb deformity correction surgery and treatments.

Learn More