shortleg syndrome

Shortleg Syndrome Definition:

Shortleg syndrome (SLS) is also called “Limb or leg length discrepancy” can be congenital or acquired. This condition is characterized by one leg shorter than the other one (leg length difference can be up to 1,5 cm), seen by asymmetrical body.

By the time, it can create an abnormal pressure to the spine and muscles and leading to deviation of the spine and affect the posture, inducing body pain and several symptoms.

Shortleg syndrome is a serious health defect not to neglect, it should be an immediate respond and get the treatment as quick as possible.

Seen of body asymmetricity for person with shortleg syndrome:

  • Shoulder up to the defect side
  • Difficulty flexion of the leg in the normal side
  • Uniquely arms movement
  • Inclination of the foot in health side
  • Maximum extension problem of the healthy side


Short leg syndrome for younger people, can be easily moderated because the bone is still growing, but for older people that will be hard to get out of this condition.


Types of shortleg syndrome:

There are 2 types of short leg syndrome: Functional and structural.

  • Functional: caused by the defect of the lower extremity, when a person having issue with his foot turning to lateral direction during running, it can lead first to problems with the foot and then getting SLS.

Functional is only seen condition and it can not be diagnosed by measuring of the bone, because the length remains normal even with this syndrome.

As we said before we are looking at the symmetricity of the body (position of the shoulder, arm movement and flexion or extension of the leg).

  • Structural: it has a congenital cause, and it can be also manifestation of trauma or an infection during childhood. For congenital sometime defect in gene lead to an unequal leg growing, and finally getting SLS.


Causes of SLS:

It depends in the types discussed before:

  • For functional SLS:

-Fallen arch, known as flatfoot when the foot loss the curving arch in front of the heel. This flattened can cause lowering of the leg length, leading to functional SLS.

-Defect in the assessment of running biomechanics, problem in any leg joints, starting from ankle to the hip because of injury.

-Iliotibial band tightness.

-Osteoarthritis, meaning damaging of the leg joint by the crushing of the cartilage located between those joint.

  • For anatomical SLS:

-A fracture or accident.

-Scoliosis: greater cause for that syndrome, characterized by sideway curve of the spinal cord, this can occur in the process of the growth of the spinal cord, mainly congenital.


-Variation of leg length can be a cause also, even if it is normal or abnormal.

-Surgery repair of the hip, like hip replacement surgery can be a cause for anatomical shortleg syndrome. This surgery can also cause hip dislocation or infection of this area.


Symptoms of SLS:

  • Pain starting from neck till the ankle because of the asymmetrical body
  • Radiating pain to the muscle located in the back of the leg.
  • Pain in the back because of the effect of that syndrome in the posture.
  • Pain in the joint during all activity.




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