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Arch Med Sci. 2010 Jun 30;6(3):393-8. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2010.14262.

Functional scoliosis caused by leg length discrepancy.

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1 Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.



Leg length discrepancy (LLD) causes pelvic obliquity in the frontal plane and lumbar scoliosis with convexity towards the shorter extremity. Leg length discrepancy is observed in 3-15% of the population. Unequalized lower limb length discrepancy leads to posture deformation, gait asymmetry, low back pain and discopathy.


In the years 1998-2006, 369 children, aged 5 to 17 years (209 girls, 160 boys) with LLD-related functional scoliosis were treated. An external or internal shoe lift was applied.


Among 369 children the discrepancy of 0.5 cm was observed in 27, 1 cm in 329, 1.5 cm in 9 and 2 cm in 4 children. During the first follow-up examination, within 2 weeks, the adjustment of the spine to new static conditions was noted and correction of the curve in 316 examined children (83.7%). In 53 children (14.7%) the correction was observed later and was accompanied by slight low back pain. The time needed for real equalization of limbs was 3 to 24 months. The time needed for real equalization of the discrepancy was 11.3 months.


Leg length discrepancy equalization results in elimination of scoliosis. Leg length discrepancy < 2 cm is a static disorder; that is why measurements should be performed in a standing position using blocks of adequate thickness and the position of the posterior superior iliac spine should be estimated.


functional scoliosis; leg length discrepancy; low back pain

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