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One leg shorter than the other

(6 Posts)
gorgeousjoshuasmummy Thu 21-Jul-11 10:36:06

Nearly a month ago my son, aged 2.7, suffered a small crack to one of his knee bones by jumping into a foot deep children's pool. They plastered it just above the knee for just over a fortnight and then removed it. He was walking badly on it, foot turned out on right leg, so while we were on holiday, dorset, I took him to the local a and e where the doctor there told us that he had a very noticeable length difference between the two legs, the left being the shorter one. They took a hip x ray which was clear and after seeing my own gp again yesterday they have confirmed that there is quite a difference between his legs and he has put an urgent refferal through to the paeds ortho surgeon at our local hospital.

I had noticed for a while that he was slightly splaying his right leg out but didnt really think anything of it, my mum pointed out several times that she thought there was a problem, but I couldn't see anything myself. Now I feel awful that I didn't notice but the main question is can anyone tell me what we can expect now? What will confirm the lengths? eg what are the scans like? What would the next course of action be? Our GP mentioned a full body, hips to ankle cast, but obviously there are at the moment no noticeable hip problems. If anyone has any advice or experience at all with this then it would be very very appreciated because I simply don't know what the future will hold. Although, we have an appointment in the pipeline the wait is horrible.

Many Thanks

Natalie x

Sausageandmash Thu 21-Jul-11 10:57:28

GJM, my daughter also has a small leg length discrepancy. I have been told that a) it's pretty hard to be accurate about lengths (and they didn't mention scans, this may be because it is about 0.5cm at the moment, so just a blip rather than major worry at moment) b) anything from 0 to 2cm isn't doesn't normally receive much sort of intervention c) hip problems might be to do asymmetry and the pressure that this puts on the body - physio might be suggested d) shoe inserts and then shoe lifts are the first options e) if the discrepancy is very great, they sometimes do a leg shortening process, so that the leg which is longer is artificially curbed, so that the discrepancy is decreased. Sorry, this is a quick list, but thought it might give you something to be getting on with until someone else with greater knowledge comes on!

saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 21-Jul-11 19:46:28

My dd had one leg longer than the other, at 12 it was 3.5 cm. The short leg was noticeably thinner. She'd had the problem since she was very small and intially had physio.

The treatment depends on why the leg is shorter and where the difference is. Sometimes it is due to an issue with the hip which I don't have experience with.

dd's was a shortening of the long bones due to a circulatory issue as a baby. In her case the treatment initially was to level her up using a shoe raise to avoid pain in the hips and also scoliosis. She was regularly measured using CT scan and had her bone age tested (that was just an xray). When she was 12 she had the surgery sausage mentions to slow the growth of her long leg and she is now as good as level.

If the difference is in excess of 5cm then thay may consider bone lengtheing but this is much more invasive surgery.

Hope this helps.

gorgeousjoshuasmummy Thu 21-Jul-11 20:09:52

Hiya both - thanks so much for your'e fab replies and taking the time to write them it is much appreciated - they were really informative and have given me a bit of reassurance that the first stage of helping my ds may not be as drastic as I first thought. What does a ct scan involve? Having not been through anything like this before I am unsure...

It doesn't help at the moment that ds is still suffering with the previously 'cracked' knee as he still isn't walking 'right' on it. He had a fall down the bottom bit of my stairs a few nights back as he has become so clumsy of late. I know it's not a massive thing but he is really suffering at the moment :-(

saggarmakersbottomknocker Thu 21-Jul-11 20:29:48

The CT scan is really quick - they just lie them on a bed and the machine is a bit like a big polo mint - the bed goes in (feet first, just up to the hip) and out again. They do have to lie quite still which is difficult for little ones but it really is only a couple of minutes. Hope his knee heals soon and you can get to the bottom of the leg issue. Orthopaedics move quite slowly though IME so it's often a bit of a wait and see approach to begin with.

gorgeousjoshuasmummy Thu 21-Jul-11 22:04:18

Thanks again, that doesn't sound too bad - I had visions of him going inside this huge machine all the way - my mum told me they would sedate him and that scared me even more! x

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