Hip Pain Relief
Recently, a patient who was experiencing pain of her right hip asked me if her discomfort was because one of her legs was shorter than the other. She said, for years, her tailor had told her that her legs were uneven whenever she had dresses or pants hemmed. Over the 37 years I’ve been in chiropractic practice I’ve had a number of similar inquiries. This article will discuss lower extremity limb length discrepancy and its possible association with hip pain.
When discussing leg length discrepancies, it is helpful to know that there are two types: functional and structural. A structural inequality occurs when bones grow to different lengths. Typically, this will occur when a bone on one leg is actually shorter than that of the other leg.
A functional inequality happens when one leg appears to be shorter than the other due to an imbalance in the lower body. Many times, this occurs when the pelvis is out of alignment.
When I evaluate a patient for hip pain, I always have them stand facing toward me so that I can observe if the crests of the pelvis are level. Many times, it appears as if one is higher than the other. If I see this, 90% of the time, it leads me to determine that a functional short leg is contributing to the hip discomfort. With other physical examination tests and possible x-rays, it can be determined that the hip pain is from a mechanical misalignment and can be helped with the proper treatment.
It’s important to note that when our pelvis is misaligned, we carry more weight on one leg versus the other. Over time, this will cause ongoing irritation to the hip that is bearing the greater load. It’s not uncommon to see osteoarthritis and degeneration of the hip from years of enduring a functional short leg. The wear and tear of the hip joint simply occurs from years of carrying excessive weight, due to leg length inequality and pelvic misalignment.
Bringing hip pain relief, due to mechanical malalignment of the pelvis, is something chiropractors are trained to provide. Treatment of realigning and restoring proper motion to the pelvis joints with gentle, safe chiropractic adjustments has been a tenant of the profession for over a century.
I’m happy to report that my patient’s treatment to correct her pelvic misalignment and functional short leg gave her complete hip pain relief in a matter of weeks. I’ll be curious know if the next tailor’s visit causes surprise when both legs are found to be of equal length.