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Foot Talk Fridays : Leg Length Discrepancy in children

February 8, 2020 by Dubai Podiatry Centre0


Welcome to Foot Talk Fridays!

Today we are going to talk about children, growing, and intoeing. 

So when children grow, the legs grow (one leg grows then the other, then the other, etc.). The legs don’t grow at the exact same rate. It is particularly common for fast-growing children to suddenly look like one of the legs is a little bit longer than the other and they like to bend the longer one when they stand and lean on the shorter one. Sometimes when one leg becomes a little too long the pelvis can tilt slightly so one foot can start to intoe.

What we do for children is we normally don’t like to correct the leg length discrepancy when it is minor. When it is minor it is normal. When you have a shorter leg and the child is running it impacts the ground a bit harder and forces the muscles to work a bit more and becomes stronger. They attach to the end of the bone and that’s what makes that side of the bone catch up. So, it’s normal for children to have leg length discrepancy.

Now when it’s too much of discrepancy (one is much longer that the other) then it can actually cause spinal and bone growth problems. So, there is a time where we would then interfere with the child’s foot and leg length alignment. It depends on the range of normal and the range of abnormal. 

But, if you are ever worried about a child’s leg length discrepancy always go and visit your pediatrician. They will check the leg lengths, then they might refer you to a chiropractor or they might refer you to us to check the leg lengths and the foot alignment as well. 

So, we check the leg lengths when there is some intoeing only on one side. Other problems that can cause intoeing on one side is muscular imbalance but that is quite rare. Leg length is the main issue with a child where one foot intoes. 

Now, intoeing with both feet is a completely different issue and has nothing to do with leg lengths. That’s more to do with the pelvic tilt or the curvature of the leg or foot. So we would just need to find out which one that is. Any child that has intoeing, particularly on one side, should have an examination by a podiatrist, pediatrician, or the orthopedic just to make sure that everything is okay.

Thank you for watching Foot Talk Fridays and I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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