I’ve been getting a lot of questions about leg length discrepancies lately. At least one patient a day comes into the office saying it feels like one leg is shorter than the other. If that many patients are asking about it, I thought it was important to educate everyone. So let’s dig in!

There are two types of leg length discrepancies – structural and functional.


A structural discrepancy happens when your anatomy is different in each leg. This can happen a few different ways.

  • Complex fractures due to a traumatic accident
  • Infection/injury of the growth plate of a child’s bone causing improper healing or stunted growth on one side
  • Treatment to remove bone tumors or cysts
  • Post surgical joint replacement
  • Congenital reasons that alter development during pregnancy
  • Hip dislocation at or soon or after birth
  • Hip dysplasia

Structural leg length discrepancies are confirmed via radiograph in which the actual lengths of the bones are measured and compared. Treatment of a structural leg length discrepancy is complex and cannot be treated with chiropractic care. However, when it leads to other musculoskeletal complaints (ie. low back pain) I can help with that.


Functional leg length discrepancies are the crux of what we treat.

A functional discrepancy happens when there’s an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or joints. In most cases, this is due to chronically tight muscles, often involving large hip moving muscles such as the glutes, hip flexors, and hip rotators. People often notice this when they are having lower back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain, knee pain or ankle and foot pain.

Unfortunately, functional discrepancies can take some time to treat. By the time you notice it, your body has developed muscle memory to maintain this position. Tight muscles usually need to be strengthened as well, and this too, takes time to accomplish. A combination of chiropractic care, massage therapy, and dedicating time for some rehabilitative exercises should make the different less noticeable.

If you are having pain and think it’s due to a leg length discrepancy, schedule an appointment with me to see how I can get you back to feeling good again soon!