Breaking your femur -- the bone in your thigh -- can lead to your leg becoming shorter once healed, especially if the bone was broken into several pieces or there was damage to the surrounding muscle and tissue, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In children, a broken femur can grow quicker once healed, causing the injured leg to become longer than the other leg. The most common treatment for leg length discrepancy is a heel lift for the shorter leg. However, exercise can help ease lower back and knee pain that is often associated with this condition.
If you have leg length discrepancy, it's common to compensate by leaning over on the short leg, Our Health Network states. This can tilt your pelvis out of alignment and place extra pressure on your lower back, hips and knees, leading to pain and discomfort. Exercises can build strength to help manage the extra strain and ease tension in the overworked joints, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states.
Ankle Pumps and Heel Slides for Low Back Pain
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends this exercise as part of your initial treatment for lower back pain. Lie on your back with your legs straight out along the floor. Point your toes down to the floor then up to the ceiling, pumping your ankle joints. Repeat 10 times. From the same starting position, bend one knee and slide your foot along the floor toward your buttocks then back out again. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Heel Raises for Knee Pain
This exercise is a good way to strengthen your quadriceps and, therefore, reduce strain on your knees, The Physiotherapy Site reports. Sit on the floor with your legs out straight and a rolled up towel under the knee of your shorter leg. Raise the heel of your shorter leg in the air and straighten your knee as much as you can without lifting it off the towel. To do this, you'll need to contract your quadriceps muscles as strongly as you can. Start with a large towel to make the heel raise easier, and gradually reduce the size of the towel as your thigh strength improves.
Tight hip muscles can cause or exacerbate back pain, says physical therapist Ron S. Miller. Lie on your back with your legs straight out along the floor then bend the knee of your shorter leg to 90 degrees. Hold your knee with the hand on the same size as your raised leg and grasp your ankle with your other hand. Turn your ankle inwards slightly and gently pull your knee across your body until you feel a stretch in the outside of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds, return to the start position and repeat two more times.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Limb Length Discrepancy
- Our Health Network: Short Leg Syndrome
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Low Back Pain Exercise Guide
- The Physiotherapy Site: Simple Knee Exercises
- Spine-Health: Exercise for Sciatic Pain From Piriformis Syndrome; Ron S. Miller