Conservative correction of leg-length discrepancies of 10mm or less for the relief of chronic low back pain

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Nov;86(11):2075-80. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2005.06.012.


Objective: To study whether conservative correction in a leg-length discrepancy (LLD) of 10mm or less in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) can relieve pain.

Design: Randomized, controlled intervention study, with a mean follow-up duration of 10 weeks.

Setting: Physical therapy clinic of the national health services.

Participants: Thirty-three patients with CLBP were screened for an LLD of 10mm or less, which was measured with ultrasound. Patients were randomly divided into intervention and control groups.

Intervention: In 22 patients, LLD was corrected by applying individually fitted shoe inserts. In 11 patients, LLD was not corrected.

Main outcome measures: Chronic pain intensity (visual analog scale) and disability score (Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire).

Results: Shoe inserts significantly reduced both pain intensity (P<.001) and disability (P<.05). A moderate positive correlation was found between LLD and the degree of pain relief after wearing shoe inserts (r=.47).

Conclusions: Shoe inserts appear to reduce CLBP and functional disability in patients with LLDs of 10mm or less. Shoe inserts are simple, noninvasive, and inexpensive therapeutic means that can be added to the treatment of CLBP.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Length Inequality / complications
  • Leg Length Inequality / therapy*
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Shoes*
  • Treatment Outcome