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one leg shorter in a teen - need ideas inc lateral thinking

(16 Posts)
nightcat Sun 05-Jun-11 11:37:27

My ds is a little lopsided from neuro probs in the past and with v poor prognosis then, the diff in leg length was the last thing drs told me to worry about.
However, despite grim prognosis, gf / GAPS diet helped him to restore a lot of neuro functions and he is confidently walking w/o falling over now, BUT one of his legs is shorter that the other and he is limping when walking, visibly lowering his body on one side. It now bothers him more than ever and although he was given insoles in the past, they were identical for both feet not adjusted for height - tbh I don't know what they were adjusted for as they rubbed his feet to blood and they proved unusable sad

So now I want to do something, we are getting a referral (was told that there is nothing they can do beyond insoles in the past so not holding many hopes) but just wondered if anyone can suggest ideas that I could experiment with or any alternative suggestions how to go about raising one of his feet higher and fine-tuning it.

Are there any services that I could approach?

hobbgoblin Sun 05-Jun-11 11:42:25

My son has scoliosis. We were told if it worsens we'd be referred to Physio but my GP recommended seeing a Chiropractor - not available on NHS I believe.

Unfortunately, my son's legs are the same length - if they weren't it'd be easier to treat with stacked boot thingies - and his problems are between neck and hips which would mean surgery if we decided to take action to impove things for him.

wordsonascreen Sun 05-Jun-11 11:45:35

My cousins left leg is one inch shorter than the right (due to a particularly nasty carcrash) He has always gone to an old fashioned reheelers and got them to build up one heel if you know the height difference its a pretty simple job.

nightcat Sun 05-Jun-11 11:56:32

guys, you are amazing, thank you smile
We have seen osteo who improved the balance already (and I wouldn't be surprised my ds also has some scoliosis) and at the time I thought maybe osteo reached the end of the road in that dept. But just recently this was mentioned again by a friendly therapist to try another but similar approach - this makes me think that worth trying again.

Never thought of re-heelers before, just says I need lateral thinking people here! Don't know the height difference so will have to try this at home first grin but like the idea!

saggarmakersbottomknocker Sun 05-Jun-11 14:12:38

nightcat - how old is he?

My dd had a leg length discrepancy caused by occlusion of her femoral artery by a clot. She had her shoe raised (both by an insole and on the outside) done by an orthotist who we referred to by orthopaedics. IMO it is quite important to get them level to avoid scoliosis which can happen especially when they have a growth spurt. The raises were brilliant and they even reinstate the original sole on top of the raise so it looks less obvious.

If your ds is still growing there is a procedure called epiphysiodesis which can help equalise the leg lengths if there is a true difference in the length of the long bones. It involves stopping the growth on the longer leg which allows the short one to catch up.

dd had this done when she was 12 - it's usually done later in boys as they continue to grow for a longer period than girls. Well worth getting a referral and investigating this option, but it is time critical. They usually do measurement by CT to confirm the true LLD and also bone age x-ray to asscertain the the best time to perform the procedure.

Hope this helps.

indigobarbie Sun 05-Jun-11 15:29:00

I wondered if you'd ever heard of structural integration which is part of 'rolfing' method. It deals with the fascia connective tissues in the body, and works to allow each bone its own space in the body. I don't think I am describing it quite correctly, but if you google you can see if this sounds like it might be of any help. Muscles and ligaments can sometimes be too tight due to postural issues/staying in the same position for years, and have a knock on effect on the whole body. Structural integration can correct these imbalances and really help with alignment. HTH

TheOriginalFAB Sun 05-Jun-11 15:31:41

My advice would be to see a osteopath. 2 of my children have had treatment, and one still is, and she has been amazing and helped dd so much. 5 other medics have looked at her, missed everything and not helped at all.

nightcat Sun 05-Jun-11 18:20:50

very grateful for your feedback smile lots of good knowledge to get me started!

Indigobarbie, you speak as if you know my ds, he did have probs with connective tissue, tight tendons etc, I will be getting a referral through a diff consultant and def back to an osteo, different practice, as was recommended one specifically from the lopsidedness pov.

He may have stopped growing in a major way tho, however I am still hoping that due to a good recovery in other areas and much improved nutrition, maybe he will still add a little, he is 18, but can't really rely on this.

When we were previously referred I was quite adamant to do something b4 he stopped growing, but so little was possible, I so know Fab what you mean!

nightcat Sun 05-Jun-11 18:23:51

saggar, I will definitely be asking about the risers!

MedusaIsHavingABadHairDay Mon 06-Jun-11 00:35:07

My DS2 is going for his epiphysiodesis op in 2 weeks time. He is 14 but tall.. 6 ft with a leg length difference . For years he has had a raise in one shoe but recently developed mild scoliosis so we were referred to the orthopaedic docs who did a bone scan and they decided he needed the op sooner rather than latersad He has other 'issues' (hypotonia, tight achilles etc etc)

Boys vary massively in their growth..usually they don't stop til about 18 but when they bone scanned my DS they found he only has a short time left it's defo worth asking for an orthopaedic referral...

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 06-Jun-11 00:39:20

DS also has one leg longer than the other, due to meningitis when he was 3, he had right sided paralysis.

he was referred to physio, then to an orthotist who made impressions of his feet, he has special insoles to wear in his shoes, one with a build up to even him up.

ask for a referral.

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 06-Jun-11 09:34:02

Medusa- hope it goes well for your ds. dd has had a good result with hers.

ellisbell Mon 06-Jun-11 09:39:34

nightcat I had to have an insole in one of my shoes for a foot problem. Mine never made my foot bleed, although in hot weather it could be uncomfortable. Did they make him walk barefoot with chalk on his feet to see how his foot was working? It should be made specifiaclly for his problem and it doesn't sound like it was.

frostyfingers Mon 06-Jun-11 11:00:21

My younger dt had terrible knee problems aged about 10 and was referred first to osteopath and from there to podiatrist who discovered that one leg being shorter than the other was the cause of the pain. One arch had fallen (or something like that), and his hips and back were out of alignment.

6 years on, and after various insoles he is almost straight again - the correction has made him walk better and the leg is within mm's of being the same length. Last time we went the podiatrist had a magic pad on the floor which showed on a computer where the pressure was on each foot.

Hopefully your son will be sorted soon, and if he does have to wear insoles, (even though it takes a bit of getting used to) I should think the improvement in his posture and from that the reduction in pain would make it worth the hassle. I know my DS now doesn't think twice about them - he may or may not have to wear them forever, it depends if he can make up the extra missing millimetre!

nightcat Mon 06-Jun-11 21:20:22

thank you all, glad most of you have had a good experience, good luck to Medusa's ds!
Ellisbell, his insoles were 1/2 length only and not done for height, although they were done using impressions. He did wear them briefly, but I didn't think they addressed length at all, in fact at the time we hadn't spotted that there was a difference in length as he was younger and not been walking much.
Are the risers like insoles? Is it via NHS? I am sure mine won't mind trying anything that could help. (I understand osteo/chiro is private.)

saggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 06-Jun-11 21:46:29

dd's were NHS nightcat, just on the one shoe. There can't put too much height on an insole as it can make the shoe unstable so they add some to the shoe itself.

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