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Spine and Back Health

Pelvic Bones Uneven

08/12/2008

Question:

I normally would ask this in the Sports Medicine forum, but my question is more spine specific. I run and have recently had both of my knees "scoped" due to old meniscal tears of each medial menisci. I have been running on these for several years and nursing them along. Now, for the first time in a while, I am able to run with a somewhat normal gait. I have noticed something off mechanically with my form though (kind of a stumble, like tripping over something that is not there). I am not 100% sold on chiropractors and look at them more like physical therapists. That being said, I went to see one to see if I had a leg length discrepancy that might account for this "bobble" I am noticing intermittently when I run.

My left leg appeared longer and the x-rays showed why. My left pelvic bone sits easily 1/2 inch lower than my right and my lower spine is noticeably curved because of it. Is this something that a chiropractor can "adjust" or it this something more significant that requires a specialist? Again, my only noticeable symptom is a stumble when I become fatigued and do not have the leg lift I normally employ when my legs are fresh.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. Usually if there is a leg length discrepancy, a shoe lift to even out the pelvis is the simplest and most successful treatment. On the other hand, if your legs are equal length and the only reason for the pelvic tilt is coming from the scoliosis of the lumbar spine, that would be a more complicated problem. Scoliosis (a tilting of the spine) cannot cause your legs to be different lengths, but the opposite can be true. I would suggest an evaluation by a good sports orthopedic specialist. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University