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Chiropractors/Correct damage from Heel Lifts


Dr Gillman,

    Hope you can help. My right leg is shorter than my left. I was the one that noticed this and my doctor agreed. Without visual or x-ray measurement, I was given a heel lift. That worked for a while, then symptoms recurred, and I was given a larger lift. At the end I was wearing a 1 inch buildup on the outside of my right shoe. This was causing right sided lower back pain so about a week ago I stopped wearing it. It felt better not wearing the built up shoe. I was wearing the lift for about 6 months and the shoe for only 2 weeks.

    What the lifts and shoe buildup did to my body is as follows. My right ASIS is noticeable higher than my left. The right leg became even shorter. Above the waist it seems like my body is tilted to the left (if I look at my bellybutton it is left of midline). I have right hip area stiffness and pain/stiffness in the back of my right thigh. Even though you can't visually notice it the right leg is weaker than the left.

    I now realize that I have a functional LLD and probably shouldn't have been using these lifts. My question is how can I correct the adverse affects (listed in paragraph two) that the lifts caused? I plan to see a local chiro but value your opinion. Thanks

Hi Francis,

In a recent metaanalysis of research on leg length discrepancy and treatmnet, the conclusion was that the research was equvocal.  There was no obvious evidence to prove that partially or fully correcting a leg length (anatomic) difference fixes pain conditions.  Also, (anatomic) leg length discrepancy was not always corelated with pain.  From my experience, it seems that you must be careful in determining IF someone truly has an anatomc leg length discrepancy, and, if it's determined that they do, AND it us presumed to be a factor with their pain, then it might be prudent to consider a small lift to test the response.   Otherwise, I'm very hesitant to issue a heel lift or shoe modification.  Nevertheless, you might find that the procedures offered by today's chiropractors, e.g. joint manipulation and various soft tissue therapies (Graston Technique,, Active Release) might provide a lot of relief and "undo"what ails you.   Do not let anyone take x-rays of your back!   Undergo physical examination by hand.   Avoid DC's that use weird gizmos and not their hands.  Do not get looped into long term care contracts.  

I hope this was helpful.

Dr. G


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Scott F. Gillman, DC, DACBSP


21 Years in practice: I can answer any question regarding chiropractic and sports medicine treatment. Mostly, I can help the unknowing public understand what is safe, valid, reasonable and evidence-based, and what kinds of unscrupulous chiropractors and fraudulent methods to stay away from. I have an advanced specialty degree in Chiropractic Sports Medicine. I have experience treating elite and Olympic athletes.



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Doctor of Chiropractic Diplomate: American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians International Chiropractic Sports Science Diploma

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