• Pelvic Torsion / Short Leg Syndrome

  • Do you have a short leg?


    Many runners are affected by short leg syndrome and might develop muscular imbalances and pain as a result. Having one leg longer than other is similar to driving a car with one car tire longer than the others. One shoe heel will usually wear away more than the other. One foot, ankle, knee, and hip will carry more weight and be under more stress. Eventually compensatory changes take place above the pelvis and the integrity of the spinal column is altered. There are 2 types of short-leg syndrome.

    1) Anatomical Short Leg

    The measurement from one leg-bone on one side of the body is longer than the corresponding opposite leg. Present in three percent of all short-leg syndromes.

    2) Functional Short Leg:
    Caused by Pelvic Misalignments or Foot Pronation

    Some common causes are:

    1. Flat arches – arches are not the same in both feet
    2. A weakness of one or more lower extremity muscles, which allows the
      pelvis to move forward or backward in relationship to the other side
    3. An abnormal range of motion along the lower extremity joints
    4. Bad habits or posture
    5. Poor quality running shoes

    The difference form one leg could be minimal or severe. Minimal difference has few to no symptoms. However, over time this minimal difference becomes greater. In runners, this becomes a problem because it involves a lot of vertical impact. Short leg syndrome causes abnormal stress on all muscles, nerves and joints that are involved. The longer the person has this type of condition, the greater the chance for a secondary compensatory problem somewhere else in the body, usually in the upper back, knees, hips and feet.

    Most common injuries associated with Functional Short Leg Syndrome are:

    • Heel Spurs
    • Bunions
    • Repetitive Ankle Sprains
    • Runner’s Knee (occurs from abnormal patella tracking)
    • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (outer knee or hip pain)
    • Shin Splints
    • Plantar Fasciitis
    • Hip Pain
    • Low Back or Neck Pain
    • Muscular Imbalance


    Anatomical Short Leg

    Correction is made by a heel lift in the shoe of the short leg. Determined by X-Ray examination and chiropractic analysis techniques.

    Functional Short Leg

    Correction is more complex due to determination of underlying cause of the short leg. The process is gradual. It involves specific stretching and strengthening exercises to address any muscle faults and any muscular
    imbalances that perpetuate the short leg-syndrome, in addition to chiropractic manipulations to correct structural imbalances of lower extremity joints (pelvis, knee, ankle). Custom Functional Orthotics can be prescribed as well to correct flat arch problems. Visual observation of the patient running (Gait or Stride Analysis) is a must to determine if there are any abnormalities.

    For more information on this article and to schedule a free lower extremity and shoe evaluation consultation call us for an appointment at (415) 546-1461 or visit our website. Stay up to date on the latest treatments that chiropractic can offer and the latest deals at Chiro-Health Inc., your San Francisco chiropractor, by liking us on Facebook and Instagram.

    By Dr. Minet Sepulveda, D.C., CSCS