Management of Leg Length Inequality

James J. McCarthy, MD, and G. Dean MacEwen, MD


J South Orthop Assoc. 2001;10(2) 

In This Article

Side Bar: Editorial Perspective

The problem of leg length inequality is an ancient one. From the obvious congenital malformations resulting in hugh discrepancies to the more subtle leg length discrepancies causing minor limps, the problem is actually extremely common. For many years, the orthopaedic community has wrestled with the inherent difficulty of lengthening the short leg, but in more recent years, shortening of the long leg has received equal attention and, because of its simplicity, some large measure of success. This article by McCarthy and MacEwen reviews the past 40 years of experience in the prediction, diagnosis, and management of leg length discrepancy. It summarizes the classification of leg length discrepancy, clearly advises the method of treatment best suited to the deformity, and warns us about the significant difficulties inherent in the art of limb lengthening.


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