Limb lengthening/equalization

If a child's legs aren't the same length, it can be difficult for them to walk and run and they may have back pain. Surgical and non-surgical options are available to treat them.

Nonsurgical treatment

Nonsurgical treatment for different length legs is done when the legs are less than an inch different and the child is still growing. The child can wear a shoe lift in one shoe to make the legs equal, making it easier to move and relieving back pain.

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment for different length legs is done when the legs are further apart in length and the difference is not improving. There are several different surgeries available, and your doctor can discuss which surgery your child should have.

One type of surgery slows or stops growth in the longer leg so that the shorter leg can catch up. This surgery, called epiphysiodesis, is used when a child is still growing.

Limb shortening is used when the person with the different length legs has stopped growing. In it, bone is removed from the middle of one of the bones in the longer leg.

Limb lengthening is the most complex surgery. In it, one of the bones in the shorter leg is cut into two pieces and attached to metal hardware. The hardware very gradually moves the bone apart and new bone grows in the middle.

Physicians who perform limb lengthening/equalization

Find a specialist in your location.