Your Physical Therapy Questions Answered

Heather_WhitingQuestion: “I have had chronic low back pain for about 10 years and was once told it was due to a leg length discrepancy . How might a physical therapist help this?” Georgia M. via Twitter

Answer: During our evaluation we would test to see if it is a true leg length discrepancy or a functional leg length discrepancy. A true discrepancy is when one leg’s femur or tibia are longer than the other leg’s while a functional leg length discrepancy is when there are joint dysfunctions, most commonly a pelvic obliquity, that makes it seem longer.

If you have a functional discrepancy, then we can utilize different manual physical therapy techniques to improve the alignment of the leg and improve the efficiency of the joint itself. Often times we can significantly reduce the leg length discrepancy with these techniques.

If it is a true leg length discrepancy or we have reduced the functional discrepancy as much as possible but there is still a difference, then we can evaluate the need for a heel lift or orthotics. We perform various tests to look at posture, range of motion and strength in your natural resting position and with the use of measured heel lifts. Whatever height you have the best results with is the appropriate height to correct your imbalances. You may need a simple heel lift or a complete orthotic which your manual physical therapist can assess and fit you for.

Dr. Heather Whiting joined the EHS team of physical therapists through the post graduate program started by the Institute of Physical Art (IPA). Heather graduated from Northeastern University with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a minor in Spanish. In addition to her academic pursuits at Northeastern, she was also a member of the women’s varsity swim team earning All-CAA Conference honors and was voted team captain. During her NCAA Division I swimming career she was a valued member of multiple record breaking relay teams.
Elite Health Services, located in Old Greenwich, (and now Westport!) CT is a world-class provider of certified functional manual physical therapy, personal fitness, golf & triathlon performance training, massage therapy and wellness related services. Our team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals take a no-excuses approach to providing exceptional care and delivering exceptional results. To learn more visit www.EliteHealthServices.

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