Limb Length Discrepancy is a medical disorder that causes a difference between the upper parts & lower parts of the legs & arms. This type of medical disorder causes the upper part & lower parts of the limb to become non-proportionate. Discrepancy in the upper part & lower part of the arm does not pose a problem in functioning in most of the cases. However, the extent of difference in the upper part & lower part of the leg may cause mild discomfort to functioning disability.
Limb Length Discrepancy Diagnosis
Diagnosis of limb length discrepancy is usually done by an experienced pediatric orthopedic. For this purpose doctors may perform an extensive physical examination so as to determine discrepancy with aid of x-ray imaging. This helps in determining the precise extent of difference between the affected & normal limb.
Limb Length Discrepancy Symptoms
General symptoms of limb length discrepancy vary according to individual cases. Most common symptom seen in leg length discrepancy is an uneven or limping gait. Recurring lower back pain & more prone to injuries while walking or running are often signs of limb length discrepancy in the child.
Causes for Limb Length Discrepancy
There are various factors that may give rise to limb length discrepancy in children.
These are –
- Bone Injury – Major or multiple fractures in limb can cause limb to shorten while healing. In case of some children broken bone may grow faster than the normal one, eventually making it longer. Also, a break in the bone at its lower part may cause the bone to grow slower as compared to the non-injured bone.
- Bone Infection – Bone infection in a growing child are found to cause mild discrepancy in the bone length.
- Bone Diseases (Dysplasia) – A few bone diseases that are likely to cause limb length discrepancy are Neurofibromatosis, Ollier disease & Multiple Hereditary Exostoses.
- Arthritis & Neurological Conditions – Hemi hypertrophy (one side bigger) & Hemi atrophy (one side smaller) are rare forms of limb length discrepancies where the affected side limbs are either considerably shorter or longer than the unaffected side.
Types of Limb Length Discrepancy
Generally, two types of limb length discrepancy are found among children.
These are –
- Structural Discrepancy – This type of limb length discrepancy is identified when the thigh bone & the shin bone of one leg are shorter than the other.
- Functional Discrepancy – This type of limb length discrepancy is seen in cases where the upper & lower leg bones are in proportion but the symmetry is affected in the hip joint. In Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip, the thigh bone is not properly joined with the hip bone, which makes the affected leg seem longer than the other. This causes functional disability in children.
Limb Length Discrepancy Treatments
Treatment for limb length discrepancy generally fall into surgical & non-surgical methods like –
- Non-Surgical Methods – If the difference in child’s leg is less than 1 inch, doctors can correct this discrepancy using a shoe-lift. In this the sole of the shoe on the affected leg is padded to compensate for the difference. Shoe-lift method helps the child to walk & run normally. It also helps relieve back pain which may be caused by limb length discrepancy.
- Surgical Method – A simple surgical procedure is used to slow the growth of the longer leg at particular growth points. This procedure is performed under x-ray control with minor incisions required in the knee. Slower development of the operated limb gives time to the shorter leg to become proportionate as it grows at a natural pace.
Another surgical procedure involves lengthening of the affected limb if it is shorter than the normal limb. In this procedure, an external traction device is clamped on to the shorter limb & the surgeon makes a minute crack in the bone so as to allow traction. Gradually the length of the bone is increased to match with the normal leg.
Choosing India for Limb Length Discrepancy Treatment & Surgery
Limb Length Discrepancy is an orthopedic disorder that mostly affects children. Doctors & surgeons in India are well-experienced & have undergone special training in managing pediatric disorders. These doctors & specialists have world-class diagnostic & treatment technology at their disposal. As compared to other countries limb length discrepancy treatment & surgery in India is generally affordable. These inexpensive treatment combined with well-trained medical staff ensure that the treatment is most effective & hassle free without complications. India has a huge network of globally renowned hospitals & treatment clinics in big cities like Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Kerala, Nagpur, Chennai, & Bangalore which make access remarkably convenient.