Leg Length Differences with Total Hip Replacements

Total hip replacements get you back to a pain free, active lifestyle. However, it is important to understand certain changes are possible with the surgery.  A common reported problem following a total hip replacement is the experience of two legs at different lengths. Known as a length length discrepancy, there are different causes and different ways to prevent and treat the problem.

What causes the difference in leg length?

  1. More joint space. Degenerating arthritis is a typical cause for a total hip replacement. This causes a decrease in the joint space surrounding the hip. The damaged cartilage is cleared away and replaced with a smooth implant, and the space is regained in the joint.
  2.  Stabilizing the joint. To prevent dislocation, the prosthetic implant used in the procedure is longer to increase stability.  Likewise, the hip joint is made more stable with adjustments to the implant. As a result, these adjustments can cause the difference in length length.

    3d rendered illustration of a hip replacement

How will it affect my total hip replacement?

Most leg length differences are very subtle and don’t cause more complications for the patients. Small leg length differences can be completely functional and the patient no longer notices the difference. 

Physical therapy consisting of strengthening and stretching the muscles surrounding the hip joint reduces the feeling of leg length difference. 

Leg length differences in total hip replacements can cause continued problems if not adjusted after 6 months. There are solutions to dealing with a difference in leg length. For example, shoe lifts have shown good results in evening out leg length discrepancies.

Why choose Heekin Clinic?

The Heekin Clinic specializes in total joint replacement surgery. They use the best approach possible to reduce any possibility of leg length discrepancy. Methods such as MAKO robotic surgery for instance, lessen the chance of a leg length problem and the hip has improved stability.

Dr. Heekin and Dr. Kim are expert surgeons and highly experienced in the best surgical techniques. Therefore, you’ll have less complications with your total hip replacement. Contact the Heekin Clinic today to find out more on how you can live free from joint pain.


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