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Different length in legs


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I know that my left leg is approximately 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) shorter than my right leg. It is obvious when I wear jeans, and I always walk on my own jeans only on the left side. Also when I sit/lie on the floor and bend the legs with the feet sill flat on the floor, you can clearly see a difference in height on my knees.


My teachers are quite often correcting me for not being "equally long" on my both sides.


I have also noticed that when standing on my short leg and working my long leg is quite difficult especially when it comes to battement jetés, where I have a tendency to loose my placement. When I stand on my longer leg the opposite occurs; everything becomes significantly easier placementwise.


If I stand in center doing center-work and don't look on myself in the mirror and then suddenly see myslef in the mirror, I see how terribly uneven I am. The whole me is tilting. But that is what feels the best for me. I will have the equal pressure on my both feet and I feel "equally long" on my upper body.


Should I really be "compensating" for my shorter side? Wouldn't my spine become all twisted then? If I compensate, I wouldn't be "equally long" in both sides as it comes to muscles and "the feel", but visually I would certainly look better.


I can surely not be the only one with different length in legs since almost all of us are unsymmetric. :D

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It's true that we are not symmetric, Susanne, however most of us are not quite so noticeably different. It is important to look symmentrical in class, and also better for your placement. I would suggest a 1/4 inch lift in the heel of the left shoe. That is not enough to bother you, and it could help you get everything aligned better.

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I have a similar problem (scoliosis from unevel leg length), and have tried different things to sort it out.


Pilates - a few sessions with a pilates instructor taught me a lot about how I hold myself generally and how I walk, and he taught me to think differently about this, and I learned several exercises which would eventually have helped me to 'straighten up' were I not incredibly lazy :)


Sports/deep tissue massage - my therapist also deals in orthotics and recommended these for me as a longer term solution which would not involve too many exercises. I have yet to take the plunge, especially since she has helped to release muscles which were 'holding up' one of my legs further in the hip than it should have been. She also recommended Yoga, of which I found the stretches and relaxation techniques excellent for giving my body a 'clean slate' from which to start from.


A lot of stretching and relaxation can help. I've noticed a big difference from doing more stretching and from having massages. I'd suggest you visit a sports massage therapist or an osteopath to see whether it is the case that your leg is so much shorter than the other, or that it is actually less so and you have developed a 'twist' in your spine and the way you walk which has made the muscles in one side a lot tighter than the other, which would make it more difficult to feel like you are standing straight.


I think most people in the world have one leg longer than the other and most people don't notice because they don't put themselves through the scrutiny that we dancers do. But it is fixable, and I hope that my advice is a bit helpful!

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I've got about a 1/2 inch difference in leg length, I understand!!! I *hate* batterment jetes and those first tendu combinations in the center exercises. There is a physical roadblock to being able to transfer the weight evenly and maintain placement through the front of the pelvis. So frustrating.


I started wearing a jazz shoe on my short leg for barre and this has helped immensely. It is much easier to maintain proper placement with the small heel. I switch to my regular ballet slipper for center work. I've found my plie is shallower on the shorter leg so I don't wear the heeled shoe for jumps.


I would talk to your teacher about it (especially since the only heeled jazz shoes with leather soles I can find are black and my slippers are pink so I'm in one pink and one black shoe). I think you'll notice a big difference in what you are able to do in terms of placement and length with the heel. I'm learning how to keep that placement in the center without the heel, which sometimes involves bending one leg slightly or being only on the ball of one foot in 5th. My teacher understands that if I place my weight equally on both feet, then this leads to severe hip, lower back, and IT band tightness on the long leg side.

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I also have this situation. My right hip is much higher than the left. I'd recommend that you go see a chiropractor and get some professional advice about orthotics, lifts, physical therapy, etc... Everybody's case is different and they can help figure out exactly what course of action would be best for you. The doctor mentioned to me that my legs may be slightly different lengths, but a lift in my shoe is not something he recommended for me. Don't know why not, but he didn't.


It's highly likely that your spine has compensated on it's own, without your conscious knowledge of doing anything. I've developed two curves in my spine (scoliosis) that I was completely unaware of until I started to get stiff in my thoracic spine. It came to the point where my cambre back was pretty much just moving my arm and looking sideways. Very pathetic cambre :) Chiropratic seems to be helping me a lot. I'm able to work on my flexibility much more now--I'm not completely pain-free, but it's much more manageable now than it was just a month ago.


I'm going to start physical therapy to build different muscle memory once my back is "receptive" enough.


Maybe this would help you out too.

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Ah! Thanks! Nice to know that I'm not the only one out there!


Kate-I was at a (I don't know what it is called in English) Naprapat (is like a chiropractor, but for the rest of the body) and he tried to relieve tension in my back and hip. It was actually he who told me I had different length in legs. I had always noticed it, but thought I was paranoid. In my cas I think it is inherited. My dad has different length in legs. In his case it is very noticable when he walks: he wiggles back and forth :D. (I got his extremely flat feet as well :wink: , my mum has these beautiful high arches :) )


I think I will start off by talking to my teachers and see what they will suggest (I bet each one will give me different answers :sweating: )

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A problem more common than people think. I am also in that number. I have a slight scoliosis, but the real problem behind the discrepancy in my leg length has to do with a hypermobile sacroiliac joint on my right. I've gone to physical therapy for this and the therapist can actually get me to even them out in a sesssion. I still feel Pilates has been the best help for me in this regard. I'm sure it helps greatly just to know you're not nearly alone.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thank you Victoria for suggesting the lift in the heel! :shrug:


For the past 4 months I have been having trouble with the inside of my right knee (the longer leg) after when I did some frappés and trying to turn out too much and in some strange way I apparently tried to turn out from my knee (in frappés of all the things! :wallbash: ). I haven't been able to work "fully" in class due to the injury and during the christmas break I haven't noticed any improvements either -until today, when I used the 5 mm heel lift and thought that it felt odd, until I realised that it was because I didn't have any pain in my knee! During 4 months I have been so used to having a small pain in my knee in daily life that I didn't even notice it until the pain went away! And that was only 5mm away!


Now I realise that I have always had a little trouble with my right knee because I have been leaning towards the inside of my foot/arch to "make the right leg shorter". I have been walking around this way for 10 years! (Resulting in a right foot that feels quite "squashed") If it hadn't been for ballet I would never have done anything about it! I have even realised that my spine is curved even when I'm sitting due to the uneven length of my legs. I put more weight on the left "sitting bone" than my right. Realising that made it sooo much easier to "sit high"!


These are only the things that I've discovered before class! I can't wait to start taking classes again after the Christmas break!

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