Working with a Leg Length Difference & Popping Ankle

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I L O V E  your blog – and I have a question.  (I am a computer dunce and could not figure out how to put this question on your blog for an answer)


I recently worked with (I am a Pilates and movement instructor) a dancer with a significant leg length discrepancy — her left leg is 1.8 centimeters longer than her right (femur is .6 c longer and lower leg is 1.2 c longer) .

The left side of her tailbone often hurts as does her left inner thigh.  She dances quite intensively and is experiencing more and more subtle aches – especially across her sacrum.

Suggestions for working with her to address her leg length issue??????
Thanks so much,

Great question, Tara.  When working on the reformer I would do my best to even out her leg length by having her stand or work with one of the foam nonslip cushions.  Look at her standing alignment both without anything under her left leg and then with standing on a pad. Does her alignment improve?

If placing a pad under her foot allows the weight to pass more evenly down the spine, through the pelvis and into the legs – that’s a good thing!  It’s quite common to have the lateral curves of the spine straighten out with a pad under the foot and that’s when you know it is something that should be corrected all the time by placing a heel lift in their regular shoes as well as their soft slippers, jazz or tap shoes.  There isn’t much to do with a pointe shoe – but if she corrects the inequity the majority of the time, being on pointe shouldn’t be a problem.

Best of all – this dancer will intuitively know whether or not the lift makes her standing, walking and dancing feel better – and the ache across the lower back and sacral area should disappear.


My name is Tina and I am a 23 year old dancer residing in New York… Anyways, I have a question my tendon in my left foot pops when I go into releve or point and flex sometimes… its not all the time but enough to be annoying… feels like the tendon is moving over the bone or something… Maybe the Post Tib tendon? Anyways, I do pronate and have orthotics but I don’t know how this happened one day I just woke up and it was popping.  It doesn’t hurt but I don’t believe popping is good because it will eventually wear on the tendon… I want to dance still… I’ve been doing some peroneal strengthening exercises and checking out my alignment in releves… I just dont know what else would help… if you have anything suggestions or feedback that would be great and thanks!

Tina – you are on the right track with checking your alignment and keeping yourself out of pronation.  That’s great that you have orthotics for your regular shoes.  You might try taping your feet for pronation while dancing to see if that decreases the popping (there just aren’t goodorthotics for dancing, unfortunately)  and I would also go to a good podiatrist that will take the time to massage and manipulate your feet if some of the smaller bones you see that make up the arch of the foot.

I have a dear friend who was a professional ballet dancer and went every few months to her podiatrist in Chicago to keep her feet in good shape.  She was one of those loosey-goosey dancers – that I lovingly admired for her turnout and extensions – but it did mean that she had more joint laxity and was prone to ankle problems.

You’re right to want to get on top of this – because it is a change from normal for you – and over time will create strain on the posterior tibialis tendon.

Good luck!

“Here’s to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.” anonymous

Happy New Year!


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