Track and Field

       Southern California 

Medical Support Group

(310) 471-7401

Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, DC, CCFC

Sports Injury Specialist

The Orthotic Doctor

I believe that this leg length information can help extend your body's physical longevity and is directly related to many present and future symptoms.  We know the elderly, after putting 200,000 miles on their legs, many times break their femur bones in the longer leg; in fact, the fracture frequently is the cause of their fall.  This does not discount the fact that a geriatric fall may result in a fracture of any bone--hip, pelvis, leg, ankle, foot, arm or wrist.  

I almost always treat the leg length inequality with custom orthotics.  The prescription includes correcting some or all of the anatomical short leg amount, depending on how much it is, the patient's physical complaints and desired activity level.  It comes down to a science and art to make orthotics work at their optimum and why I usually recommend 1 to 3 follow up visits to potentially make slight modifications to the orthotics in the office.   Infrequently, it is necessary to send them back to the lab for other changes.  Bottom line, Dr. Paul's custom orthotics correct anatomical and biomechanical abnormalities, assuring many thousand miles of usage, enjoyment of physical movement, while significantly preventing the body's physical degeneration and need for future care.  

Have Fun and Keep Moving! 

Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C.,C.C.F.C.

During my career I have been responsible for ordering, evaluating and doing the computations of 5,000 X-Rays of my patients' legs--femurs and tibias.  I, along with many radiologists and medical researchers, agree that 90% of us have about 1/4" (5-6mm) actual difference in the longitudinal length of our legs.  As the saying goes, "The devil is in the details."   If this abnormal difference is more in the femur bone (thigh bone), the difference in the weight of an average adult male's legs could be 5-15 pounds, magnified to 3-6 times running.  This is because of the long leg's extra body mass (BMI), especially bony mass, including the bigger and stronger leg muscles--glutes (buttocks), quadriceps and hamstrings.  Ever wonder why one glute, quad, hamstring or calf always gets tighter or is more symptomatic than the other?  This is very likely due 

Do You Know What Side of The Road You Should Run or Walk On?

As crazy as it may seem, this is often one of the most important things I tell my patients.  I always recommend as in my article, "Running Surfaces," running on dirt trails, DG (decomposed granite), flat compact sand near the water's edge, well manicured grass and on a treadmill instead of on streets and sidewalks.  Running on pavement, especially at night, is always safer against the traffic, as this gives you the best ability to avoid an oncoming vehicle.  This article is specifically for road running and racing.   

to this elementary imbalance.  Some regular runners, hikers and walkers have noticed they feel better exercising on one side of the road more than the other.  

Once you know which leg is longer, you know which side of the road to run/walk on.  The longer leg's foot should be lower than the shorter leg's foot.  For instance, if your right leg is longer, running/walking on the right side of the road's crown (with the traffic, as in the running image above) should feel better than running on the left side...and against the traffic if your left leg is longer.  If you are running on the sidewalk, it is opposite because sidewalks usually slope toward the road for drainage purposes.  This means left long leg people should feel better running/walking on a sidewalk on the right side of the road (with the traffic). ‚Äč

The only way to know for sure what this finite leg length difference is with a special X-Ray of the two femurs and two tibias (shin bones).  This is called a scanogram or orthoroengtenogram of the femurs and tibias.  A bone scan of the leg bones can be done as well, but I prefer the scanogram, as it is a true life-size image and provides measurements to the 1/2 mm.  You might say this precise leg length difference is the answer to "the $40,000 question."  In the case of a professional athlete, this could be the $40,000,000 career guarantee.