Can I switch to a full foot lift instead of heal lift for my LLD?
December 17, 2013 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Due to back pain, I had a bone scan 12 years ago that showed I have a 15mm leg length discrepancy. Since then I was prescribed a 9MM cork heal insert to make up for most of the discrepancy (LLD for short). It has worked mostly ok, but I still have some back pain (probably from leg length discrepancy says doc). I'm out of USA for a while now and won't be able to see my normal doctor for a while.. I am considering trying a full foot lift instead of my traditional cork lift. I feel like the full foot lift will do a better job of evening out the discrepancy. Is it worth a shot? If they are both used for LLD, what benefits does one offer over the other? Which situations call for a full foot lift over just the heal? Thanks a lot.
posted by crawltopslow to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

When I wore a .25 inch (later .5 inch) lift for my 1 inch (25ishMM) discrepancy, it extended out to about the mid point of my arch (designed by the doc, done by a cobbler). I usually had some pain when I went to a new one (due to the old one being compressed) and my worst time was, while pregnant, getting a new one that wasn't .5 inches but instead copied the height of my compressed one I was trying to replace. When changing shoe heights (flats to sneakers, old to new), I'd have some adjustment pain.

I injured my "long" leg foot a few years ago. This required an external boot for a while and I was in a lot of pain. As my back pain had stopped due to an unrelated surgery a few years earlier (I could be more casual about my lifts, shoes, etc), I went ahead and figured that as long as I was beat up, I'd just lose the lift after 30 odd years. I've been lift free for over a year now, and haven't been in any significant pain. My sports doc and standard doc see no issues (spinal) from my having stopped the lift and living with the 1 inch discrepancy.

Are you certain you don't have something else going on? As I said, long trial and error showed me it wasn't that my leg was making my back hurt, but that I had other issues going on that manifested as pain at that spot. If I'd never had that other issue, no one would have really cared about the discrepancy as it took an X-ray to determine I even had a slight curvature. I also haven't been X-rayed specifically for that since then (I was a tweenager) so maybe I kept growing and it's less of a discrepancy? I thought I was my full adult height by then.
posted by tilde at 8:44 AM on December 17, 2013

I have tried going without my heal lift for several weeks twice in my life. Both times my back pain got significantly worse, and nearly disappeared when I started using the lift again. Although skeptical for a long time, I'm now sold on it.
posted by crawltopslow at 8:50 AM on December 17, 2013

I technically also have LLD, but I ultimately didn't keep using the cork lifts - I just concentrated on strengthening my back and getting a better mattress. (Speaking of mattresses - high-density foam mattresses are the BOMB-DIGGITY.) No instances of my back going out since then.

How is your mattress and exercise/fitness?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on December 17, 2013

Yeah, about the same here (less post other issue fixed which gave me the idea, but still not great). Like I said, I was in pain anyway from the significant fall and injury, figured I'd get both pains over with at once. :P

My first one cost about 8$ USD originally, was a shoe foam covered in leather. The most I've paid is 25$ USD. I'd take a pair of shoes and an insert, or sandals to a cobbler/shoe maker. Have them measure your foot and make an insert extended out to the whole foot.

The might change the angle some and make it more difficult to wear some styles of shoes (the .5 inch lift limited me for decades.

Might be worth the effort and expense to just try it out.

Strengthening your core muscles (swimming, or google up home-based exercises) can help, too.
posted by tilde at 9:04 AM on December 17, 2013

I'm working on strengthening my core. The increased pain might be from sleeping on the floor the past 2 nights. I didn't think about that.
posted by crawltopslow at 9:08 AM on December 17, 2013

Could you just get one of those padded shoe inserts and put it in under your existing lift, to give you a sense of what a proper full-foot lift would feel like? It would be a quick, cheap way to try out your idea. It might even do the job itself, who knows?
posted by Scientist at 9:19 AM on December 17, 2013

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