Myth….If I am constantly getting injured on one side, that must mean that I have a leg length discrepancy, right?
We hear this one all the time, and we are glad to set the record straight! Significant leg discrepancies are not common. Frequently, an athlete will be evaluated by lying flat on a table with an observer at the foot of the table. The observer takes both of the athlete’s feet in his or her hands, presses the ankles together, “eyeballs” the soles of the feet, and finally declares, “YEP! Your left anklebone is a full 2 cm below your right one buddy! Your left leg is definitely longer.”
Then the athlete goes out and gets a lift for the right shoe so that both legs can be even. Well we have to tell you that this apparent leg length discrepancy probably is caused NOT by a leg bone that is longer, but by pure imbalance in the muscles and tendons of the pelvis, the foundation of the body. And the source of this imbalance might surprise you. A tight hamstring on one side can jack the other side of the pelvis up. A tight Iliotibial band on one side could jack the other side of the pelvis up. It’s common in people who do one thing all the time, such as a runner who sprints around a track in one direction day after day. Even tennis players who develop their upper bodies on one side to swing a racket can experience imbalance in the muscles that affect the pelvis. It’s true. When the pelvis – hip and trunk – are free floating and flexible, the leg length discrepancy may mysteriously disappear. (Then all an athlete need to do is figure out how to handle the damage done by inserting the lift in the right shoe, creating a true catastrophic imbalance for which the body has had to compensate by doing all sorts of ugly things)