Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

Treating Kids Who Have One Leg Shorter Than the Other

Limb length discrepancy, a condition where kids have one leg shorter than the other, often starts out very subtly. These small differences in leg length probably won’t affect the spine or cause back pain, according to pediatric orthopedic surgeon Mark Romness, MD. But more dramatic differences, an inch or more, can cause a significant limp and throw off the body’s dynamics.

That’s where PRECICE® nail insertion comes in. To lengthen the short leg, surgeons insert a rod down the middle of a bone. The patient then uses an external device to control how much the rod lengthens. Typically, Romness says, the patient lengthens the bone one-third of a millimeter at a time, three times a day.

“It’s relatively pain-free after you’re over the initial surgical procedure,” he says. “You’re looking at one-third of a millimeter … so the stretch on the leg is usually not that painful.”

In this week’s podcast, Romness explains the nail insertion procedure in-depth, including risks and alternatives. Listen to the podcast:

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week