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One leg longer than the other

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi. I haven't posted here in a long time, not since last season in fact. To give you a little background, I started snowboarding in the spring of 2000. I got pretty good pretty fast. Then last season, I started skiing and I liked it even better. Now I only snowboard on powder days, skiing every other chance I get. I'm not a bad skier. I try to ski parallel exclusively and I stay mainly on the blue and easy black runs. But I'm definitely still a beginner.

I noticed when I started skiing that my turns to one side were much better (quicker, more clean and effective) than the other side. Specifically, my turns to the right were great. But sometimes, it seemed like a huge struggle to turn to the left. I thought this was because my front snowboarding foot is my left foot, so therefore my left foot movements were much better.

Well, the other day I was at the gym stretching with my feet flat on the ground and my knees up. When looked in the mirror, I noticed for the first time that my left kneecap was noticeably higher than my right! When I showed my wife, she could see it from clear across the livingroom. Now the only explanation I have for this is a very bad break I sustained years ago to my left leg. They actually had to put a plate and four pins in to stabilize the bone. My guess is that while drilling through the bone for the pins, my left leg go slightly elongated and I never noticed because it was almost a full year before I could walk without crutches.

Now I know that there are equipment adjustments that can compensate for the length disparity. But I've already skied one day with my current non-adjusted equipment. Just knowing that the left side is longer made my skiing a lot better. I'm wondering if I should go ahead and keep skiing the way I am and just make muscular adjustments. I already walk, run and play all kinds of sports with my legs uneven. Will there be problems down the line if I ski with my current setup?
post #2 of 10
Your body has an amazing ability to adjust to situations like yours. However you may want to get an assesment (sports med center or by a chriopractor) to see if the probable resulting pelvic tilt may have potential for future hip, knee or lower back issues as a result of the compensating you are doing. Sketetal mis-alignment can generate accelerated and progressive deteriation of load bearing surfaces in joints and spine. Skiing can be a high load sport on the skeleton and you might be doing yourself a long term favor to get a lift/shim installed under your short leg's binding or a lifter sole attached to the boot to balance out the load. It may be worth looking into if only to rule out the need or potential risk.
post #3 of 10
My left leg is longer than my right leg and getting that problem addressed with proper lifts made all the difference in the world in my skiing.
post #4 of 10
I also have a difference in leg lengths due to a motorcyling accident. My left leg is short by about 1/2". I did initially notice that one of my turns in one direction is more 'comfortable' than the other. I can't quite remember whether it's my left or right turn that comes easier. I've just learned to adjust my skiing to compensate for any imbalance. I think in skiing, the uneven nature of the surface that you're skiing on results in a constantly changing dynamic stance anyways.

Another thing you may want to have checked is your leg alignment. It could make more of a difference than a leg length difference. I've had might checked and I'm off by about 3degrees on my right leg. I'm going get my boots planed to adjust for that once I get the fit dialed in. Fine tuning the fit on new boots can be such a bitch sometimes!
post #5 of 10
Your body probably compensates for the length difference by straightening the shorter leg. This throws the hip on that side back creating a balance issue on that side. I think that extension and flexion is also affected because of a lifetime of having one "straight leg". Go to a certified pedorthist (sp?) and get alligned. It will make a big difference!!!
post #6 of 10
Why bother? Get your gimpy self back on your snowboard and have fun!
post #7 of 10

Didn't you present this problem to us in a previous post last season ? I think you did, if you didn't, my apologies.

I think the other posts on this thread give some good advice on where to start in finding a solution to this ever present problem whcih does have a solution.
post #8 of 10
As a result of a skiing injury in 2000 I too have a short leg. It took nearly 12 months to recognize and diagnose it as the continueing cause of a pronounced limp and lower back pain.

I have lifts in all my shows and have had my ski boots fit by The Boot Doctor. Due to misalignment the boot had to be rather severly canted. I could not stand on a flat foot in ski boots.

If i run around bare foot or without lifts I am shortly reminded to not do this as the limp and pain return. How has this affected my skiing? In the near term I tend to ski on the right leg only. I hope that with time I will again trust the leg and ski symettrically.

So in my short experience with legs that are about 1/2 " different it is well worth visiting a profesional and getting the discrepancy fixed.

Initially I had a full lift in my shows. I was tehn told that in prosthetics it is common practice to adjust for only half of the leg length discrepency. In the two weeks since tis adjustment was made the limp became decidely worse so I am refitting everything with the full lift and am going to contact my doctor for his advice on the proper amount of lift I should have.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by wink:

Didn't you present this problem to us in a previous post last season ?

Last season, I thought I was merely better with one leg than the other. I only recently discovered that one leg was phyisically longer than the other a few weeks ago.

Thanks for all the advice everyone.
post #10 of 10
The boot doctor or any other good fitter that does boot planing or lifts can fix your leg differences problem. It's worth the money and effort if you are planning to continue skiing seriously.

Just my opinion...
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