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Short Legs Syndrome

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

Leg length inequality has been virtually ignored by M.D.’s but it is routinely evaluated by chiropractors, some D.O.’s and many body therapists. It appears that some inequality of the two legs is present in almost all people and it may be relatively inconsequential. However, the great osteopathic researcher Irvin M. Korr, Ph.D., demonstrated that a minor inequality could have major physiologic effects, both on the spine and on internal organs.

Whether I have always had such an inequality is unknown. However following a right hip fracture in 1971 (a typical Sagittarian risk experience), I have certainly had a short left leg. On pelvic X-Rays it looks as if the right femur was rotated slightly which could have caused that leg to be longer. Several chiropractors and one D.O. measured my left leg as three-eights of an inch short. They recommended a lift in my left shoe heel. I tried these up to a few years but it never seemed to take the pressure off my left sacroiliac joint.

Recently I saw the most amazing body therapist I have met, Paul St. John, an Integrative Neurosomatic Therapist. He took proper X-Rays, very different from those taken earlier. These showed not only a 5 mm short left leg but an 8 mm short left pelvis! He told me that a heel lift actually aggravates the problem as it rotates the leg and pelvis. What you need is a full shoe insert!! If the discrepancy is as great as one-half inch, you will need the shoe built up on the sole. With that lift in my left shoe, my two shoulders are even when I stand–for the first time in at least 38 years! He then provided me with a pelvic lift to use when I am sitting and my shoulders are level when I sit. I feel that my left sacroiliac is back to normal. At some point I will tell more about my visit with Paul St. John. Meanwhile, if you have any type of spinal or sacral discomfort and nothing has helped, I consider it well worth the trip to Clearwater, Florida to see Paul!

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