Leg Length Discrepancy Help

Charlie and anyone else willing to offer any answers,
I am looking for some help in the best way to correct my leg length difference. It is post traumatic in origin, not due to postural or muscular factors. 3 years ago I was in a nasty car accident resulting in multiple pelvic fractures. After managing not to die and then not be crippled, I eventually got back to sprint training, lifting, and flag football. I have tried using heel lifts on the right side (i need about 3/8") but that feels kinda weird. I’ve also tried nothing as well, and while I feel smooth in both acceleration and upright, I eventually suffered an insidious onset strain in the right bicep femoris. Does anyone have experience personally or through working with an athlete that might be helpful? Maybe trying a small full sole insert and a smaller heel lift to accomplish the correction? It’s a pain in the ass but it took 5 months to clear up the hamstring and I don’t want to deal with that again. Sorry for the length and thanks to all for any thoughts/suggestions.

I work with people all the time who have Hip issues. Most of the time they dont even realize it. Sore shoulders, neck, knees etc etc. Most of the time, the issue comes down to Hip problems.
You need to work on the issues around the hip 1st, the foot last!
Im not surprised at all you did a hammie whilst wearing orthodontics!

Its hard via forum, but ill give you some basics

1st - get flexibility in major muscles - Hammies, thighs, hip flexors, lower back, glutes.
2nd - Learn to foam roll. There used to an excellant article on the net, its gone or moved. But google it i guess, and search the forums. Or youtube might be the best bet.
3rd - See a top Massage specialist to check for Scare Tissue in Hammie and Hips and get it removed
4th - See somebody who specializes in Posture (not a chiro) To make sure your on the right track and re-commence your running once they give you the all clear.

I fixed a lady who for 12yrs was seeing all sorts of specialists (physio, osteopaths, chiro etc etc) and she still got bed ridden after a hard days work. Even after 12 yrs. 6wks With me, she had her 1st wk Pain free and has been getting better and better since.

Learn to squat proper
learn to lunge proper

Thanks for the reply. I may have been a little unclear as well as incomplete in my initial post. To clarify, I wasn’t using anything in my shoes during the time my hammy started flaring up. I did go to a therapist who did a lot of tissue work which did help immensely. While I healed very well overall, there is a very slight assymetry in the way the pelvis healed, producing the discrepancy. The problem seems to be that I screw up my back and hip musculature just from compensating for the asymmetry. I guess some of the approaches I’m trying to choose between are:

  1. Don’t use anything in my shoes but get very regular soft tissue work in addition to my stretching to counteract the ever present tendency to get “screwed up”

  2. Use a small amount of correction in my “walking around” sneakers so my pelvis is more level when simply standing and walking, but still get regular work done for maintenance. Use nothing when training/competing.

Just to provide further info, I’m roughly 5-10(depending which foot I stand on:)), 190 lbs and I can squat to parallel with good form with somewhere around the mid 400s(lbs.) and lunge properly as well(I hope so as I work in an employee fitness facility and teach people these lifts).

What sounds preferable, option, 1, 2, or something else? Again many thanks for any further input.

I would see a good podiatrist/pedorthist and get orthotics or a lift to see if it helps. If the insert(s) doesn’t seem to help, don’t be afraid to ditch it. Options are key.

I’ve got one leg shorter than the other and use heel support, which is always an under-correction (never higher or even even than the leg difference). I used to have lower back pain/irritation on the shorter leg’s site, but this is almost gone now. I also tend to stand on the shorter leg, but I try to avoid this. The things I’ve realised and been adviced are (1) whatever you decide to follow as ‘treatment’, follow it permanently (not for every day life only, but in training, too) and (2) give some good time to your body to adjust to things (when I first used heel support, things were worse). I would lastly spend some good time finding a good podiatrist, as mortac8 says, who knows what s/he is doing, if you decide to wear orthotics. Just my experiences here as I don’t think it would be wise to tell you to do this or that via a forum. In any case, well done on coming back!

You say to follow any decision permanently. What if a shoe-insert turns out poor results?

Sorry, obviously I didn’t make my self clear. What I meant was that once a decision has been made as to what treatment should be followed (i.e., heel support, orthotics, etc or Not), this should be followed on a constant basis during the treatment ‘trial’ period for safe conclusions to be drawn and not on occasion. And it was referring to the following point:

I was advised in the past to avoid that and this is just what I am offering based on my experience. If after a certain period of time, prescribed by the specialist, the selected treatment has failed, you know this treatment and/or the specialist is not for you, of course!

Thanks for the feedback from all thus far. Nikoluski, how much of a discrepancy do you have and how much of it do you correct? My therapist had estimated that 3/8" (~9-10mm) would be 100%. This amount in the heel makes it feel awkward when pushing of to accelerate from standing start or say, WR stance. We were discussing trying 1/8 or 3/16 in a full sole and another 1/8 in the heel in an effort to find a happy medium that doesn’t mess up shoe fit and allows a less plantar flexed ankle. I guess the only way to know is try it for a defined period of time. I actually lift better with no shoes at all(squat/dead) and prefer minimal support/cushion when running. There lies the conflict because I don’t want a screwed up back later on, either.

As a podiatrist, it is amazing how many people I see who have some type of limb length discrepancy, which they haven’t noticed before. In your case (structural limb length discrepancy), I would think a heel lift incorporated into an insole would be the best fit. I don’t think you need “full correction”, but slightly less of a lift would be sufficient, along with doing soft tissue work around the hip musculature to adjust your body properly.

Thanks to all for the feedback. The regular soft tissue work is definitely going to be necessary going forward; regardless of the exact amount/method of correction I ultimately use. It’s great to have a place to discuss these issues with people who actually train to run fast/be athletic and/or train others to do so.