Possible Causes of Heel Pain – Limb Length Discrepancy

As we have focused on in many blogs before, there are a number of different reasons you could be experiencing heel pain. The causes can range from a tendonitis to bone cysts to fractures of varying degrees.  While you may not think that the problem needs to be treated, heel pain that goes ignored for too long can be more difficult to recover from.  One fairly common problem that results in heel or foot pain is limb length discrepancy.


The design of human body is symmetrical.  What is on the left is also on the right. Unfortunately, the two sides are not always of equal length. An eighth or quarter inch is a huge difference over all the steps you take during your daily activities. When it comes to the length of each leg, these small differences can easily lead to heel pain.  This discrepancy in leg length can lead to ankle or back problems as well!


As an active adult, you may have undergone or considered replacement knee surgery.  This type of surgery has become quite common in the past few decades and the benefits for a failing knee are not to be ignored. Even so, the issue of limb imbalance may have been over looked when you were weighing your options. The difference created by knee surgery can often lead to problems in other joints as your body compensates for the imbalance created by a knee implant.


If any of this sounds familiar, make an appointment with our doctors at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. Utilizing your physical exam findings and the latest diagnostic technology, we can identify where the problem is and how best to treat it. Early interventions for limb length discrepancy can be as simple as inserts or shoe modification.  Extra height can easily be added to an orthotic insert to compensate the difference.  Similarly, your shoes can be modified to create a higher heel on the affected side. In the cases where you have ignored the pain or the problem has gone uncorrected for too long, you may require a more advanced intervention.  Don’t delay; find out why your heels hurt today!


Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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