Lean on me…

More on short legs…

We remember from last week, there are several common compensations for a short leg.

We recounted six common adaptations and spoke about pronation of the longer side, and supination of the shorter side last time. Here are the others, in case you need a reminder:

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

Lets look at “The lean”. Leaning to the short side helps to create clearance for the longer leg. The lean in essence helps to lift the pelvis on the swing side by using a shift body mass to the stance leg, similar to in a Trendelenburg gait. It makes no difference if the leg is functionally or structurally short, the body still needs a strategy to move around the asymmetry. The lean can often be mistaken for a weak gluteus medius on the side they are leaning to (which would look very similar). Sometimes, the two can occur concurrently as well. 

Often with “the lean” there will be an increased arm swing on the opposite side to “help” pull the long leg through , while creating a counter balance effect.

Watch the above video several times to see what we are talking about. This person has a left short leg and leans to that side. We slowed it down so it is easier to see.

Again, the thing to 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.

Short legs and compensations. There not just for breakfast anymore.

Ivo and Shawn. Two guys with two short legs… ; )