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Article Title

LEG LENGTH DISCREPANCY IN RUNNERS

Abstract

Elicia Pollard & Eddie Traylor; Langston University, Langston OK

Leg length discrepancy is a condition of uneven length between the lower extremities. Leg length discrepancy has been identified as a predisposing factor in affecting the biomechanics of running. However, evidence is unclear as to what extent of discrepancy is significant enough to cause problems when running. PURPOSE: The purpose of this project was two-fold: (1) to allow students the opportunity to develop clinical skills for assessing leg length and (2) investigate if a certain amount of leg length discrepancy was associated with problems in runners. METHODS: Through a service learning project, students examined 25 college track runners for leg length discrepancy. Students used a tape measure for direct measurement of anatomical leg length. Measurements were taken on bilateral lower extremities from the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) to the medial malleolus. RESULTS: Forty-seven percent (47%) of the participants presented with a leg length discrepancy. The average difference between their lower extremities was .5 cm. One hundred percent (100%) of the participants who had a leg length discrepancy were unaware of it and did not report problems with running. CONCLUSION: Students realized that the tape measure technique is a quick, noninvasive method of screening leg length but factors such as thigh girth, clothing, positioning, etc. can affect the accuracy of the test. Anatomical leg length difference of approximately .5 cm did not appear to be significant in college track runners. More studies are needed to determine the extent of leg length discrepancy required to facilitate complications in running.

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