Leg length differences – Heel lifts & sole lifts


Having one leg a little longer than the other is very common, differences of up to 5mm typically will not cause problems, although when differences are more significant (>5mm) this can lead to complications.

​Significant leg length discrepancies can cause poor posture and balance which can then cause other degenerative joint problems, stress fractures, soft tissue overuse injuries in the foot and ankle as well as increasing risk of falls and tripping.

Your Podiatrist can accomodate leg length differences by fitting a custom heel lift in your shoe and/or modify the sole of appropriate shoes increasing the sole thickness.

When would you need a lift?

  • An obvious observance of one leg being longer than the other
  • Affected posture (uneven loading between legs, scoliosis)
  • Problems with gait (tripping, scuffing one foot, hitching hip for each step)
  • Pain in the lower back, hip, ankle or knee

What is it? Heel and sole lifts involve your Podiatrist building up the shorter limb to regain symmetry, improve your gait and posture. Heel lifts and sole lifts have individual pros and cons…

Advantages of intrinsic heel lifts?
Intrinsic heel lifts are relatively quick to fit in consult and can be added to existing orthotics or under the innersole that comes within the shoe, additionally heel lifts can be a useful tool to plantar-flex the ankle joint relieving achilles tendon/heel pressure.

Advantages of extrinsic sole lifts?
Extrinsic sole lifts involve permanent modification of appropriate shoes. Once a careful biomechanical assessment has been performed and lift height has been determined our Podiatrist will keep the shoes overnight and replace the shoe sole while building in lift. Sole lifts can be shaped with a rocker to make walking easier and they also won’t take up space within the shoe ensuring a perfect fit!

Our Podiatrists are experienced in the prescription of intrinsic heel lifts and the addition of extrinsic heel & sole lifts. To discuss which option may best suit you, phone 02 5926 3806.

If you are in pain, or have an injury – let us help!

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