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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Leg length discrepancy


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Hi all, I was wondering if anyone had any experience of compensating for a leg length discrepancy?

My right leg is physically longer than the left (so not due to tight muscles on one side, etc) so I really struggle to close in fifth without bending the leg because the length 'gets in the way'. I also can't close in fifth with the right leg behind at all without really forcing it. To be honest I struggle to feel the adductors on my right side activate at all even with using a foot lift on the left hand side as a make shift lift to 'balance' me out. My left side is absolutely fine, I can feel my adductors activate and I can close really nicely without bending the leg.

I do several inner thigh strengthening exercises only on my right hand side and I can feel the strength improving in my inner thighs but I can't seem to apply it during class. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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It's actually very common for people to have one leg/arm/foot etc longer than the other.  We are just not built perfectly symmetrical!

You say your right leg is physically longer - has that been medically diagnosed with a measured leg x-ray or similar? Otherwise, the first thing to do is actually properly find out if it is a structural difference - that the bones of one leg are physically longer than the other leg, or if it is a compensatory difference caused by something else like a scoliosis or a pelvis issue.  That should be done by a medical professional as it will determine what steps need to be taken to address it.  It's always tricky to fix a problem when you don't know what's causing the problem!

There are a number of threads on dealing with this issue already in the forum so I would start by looking through those - here are some to start.  You can find more by using the search function at the top of the forum.



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Hi Miss Persistent,


Thank you so much for your reply and for those links, they've been very helpful. I've been to see physios and osteopaths, never of whom could identify compensatory 'issues' and I've had hip and upper limb imaging before.


It may be that I will need to use a small lift, but I worry that may impact my turns and jump...and make me feel rubbish for needing to resort to one!

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I would advise against doing anything until you have a concrete diagnosis! As with any problem or injury, you can't solve it or treat it unless you know what it is.  And upper limb and hip x-ray would not show a complete anatomical difference as the measurement needs to be taken from the floor to the hip.  If you only measure from the knee to the hip for instance, how do you know one lower limb is not longer than the other?

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