Short leg syndrome: A common cause of low back pain

Kendi Hensel, Paul Crapo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discrepancies in leg length are extremely common among the general population. Most people have few if any problems from a leg length inequality, but for some it can cause low back pain and other symptoms that are collectively termed Short Leg Syndrome. Low back pain stemming from Short Leg Syndrome is a common presentation that is missed too often in emergency departments and primary care clinics, because its prevalence and diagnostic findings are not well known by these providers. This paper reports a case of a 27 year-old Caucasian male with acute low back pain who first presented to an emergency department and was subsequently seen in a primary care clinic three times before being correctly diagnosed with Short Leg Syndrome. The prevalence and pathophysiology of Short Leg Syndrome are discussed. Obstacles hindering practitioners from making the correct diagnosis and solutions to those obstacles, such as encouraging the uniquely positioned Osteopathic community to assist in these efforts, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalOsteopathic Family Physician
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Low back pain
  • Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)
  • Structural exam


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