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Compensations for short legs…Final installment in this series, but not our last word on this subject

We remember from from the last few weeks, there at least SIX common compensations for a short leg(week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5). Last time we looked at increased knee flexion on the long leg side. Here is the list, in case you needed a reminder:

  • hip hike on long leg side (seen as contraction of hip abductors, obliques and quadratus  lumborum on short leg side)
  • excessive knee bend on the long leg side
  •  pronation of the longer side, supination of the shorter
  • leaning to he shorter leg side
  • circumduction of the longer leg around the shorter
  • excessive ankle plantar flexion on short side

This time we will look at excessive ankle plantar flexion on short side. Normally the ankle plantar flexes about 10 degrees at initial contact/loading response, and about 20 degrees at pre swing to create “clearance”.

Watch this gentleman’s increased plantar flexion of the L calf to clear the right foot, Yes, he has an S1 nerve root lesion affecting plantar flexion of the R foot. The body needs a strategy to move around the longer leg.

Remember here is that what you are seeing is the compensation, not necessarily the problem. When one leg is shorter, something must be done to get the longer leg through swing phase.

Excessive ankle plantar flexion. Another compensation to look out for when evaluating leg length deficiencies. 

Ivo and Shawn. …still bald…still good looking…still geeky…… The Gait Guys

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