Summaries for Patients |

Unequal Leg Length and Knee Osteoarthritis FREE

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The summary below is from the full report titled “Association of Leg-Length Inequality With Knee Osteoarthritis. A Cohort Study.” It is in the 2 March 2010 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 152, pages 287-295). The authors are W.F. Harvey, M. Yang, T.D.V. Cooke, N.A. Segal, N. Lane, C.E. Lewis, and D.T. Felson.

Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(5):I-46. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-152-5-201003020-00003
Text Size: A A A

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Osteoarthritis is a common condition in which changes in the joints lead to pain and disability. The cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, and the knees are commonly affected. Knowing more about when and why pain develops in osteoarthritis might help us to develop better treatments. Previous studies suggest that people whose legs are unequal in length are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than people whose legs are equal in length. However, these studies were not designed to see what happened to arthritis over time.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To find out whether unequal leg length was associated with existing knee osteoarthritis, the worsening of existing knee osteoarthritis over time, and the development of new knee osteoarthritis over time. They also wanted to see whether the shorter or longer leg was at higher risk for osteoarthritis.

Who was studied?

3026 people aged 50 to 79 years.

How was the study done?

The researchers measured the length of every participant's legs by using full-leg radiographs. They then used radiography to evaluate each patient for knee osteoarthritis and symptoms of knee osteoarthritis at the start of the study and after 30 months.

What did the researchers find?

At the start of the study, people who had at least 1-cm length difference in their legs were more likely than patients whose legs were the same length to have osteoarthritis and symptoms of osteoarthritis on radiographs. Over 30 months, people who did not have knee osteoarthritis at the start of the study were more likely to develop it if their legs were at least 1 cm different in length. Both the shorter and the longer legs were at risk for arthritis. In people who had osteoarthritis at the start of the study, osteoarthritis was more likely to worsen over 30 months in those with unequal leg length than those whose legs were the same length.

What were the limitations of the study?

The study was only 30 months long. Although more precise than in-office clinical measurement of leg length, radiography is still prone to some measurement error.

What are the implications of the study?

Unequal leg length is associated with knee osteoarthritis. Further studies are needed to see whether correcting leg length with shoe inserts or some other process could decrease knee osteoarthritis.





Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Submit a Comment/Letter
Submit a Comment/Letter

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.


Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Related Articles
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.