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Leg Length worries...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by spiralgirl1, May 25, 2012.

  1. spiralgirl1

    spiralgirl1 Peer Supporter

    Hi all,
    Just had quite a bad hot sleepless night thinking about this..
    This has been a 'fear' and focus for me over the years and I would really appreciate any comment, experience and advice..
    I was told several years ago by an osteopath that I have one leg shorter than the other and was told that unless I wore an insert in my shoe I would not get better. I wore a very annoying insert (which meant certain sandals etc and of course bare feet were impossible to wear) and then decided to stop doing so as my symptoms were not really any better. Surprise surprise....
    I have since been told by other 'professionals' that my seemingly longer leg is due to a misaligned pelvis, tight muscles etc. I do have much more sore muscles on that side of my hip and buttock.
    My head (and Dr Sarno etc) tells me that many people have differing length legs and no problems resulting from that. I know I am often very emotionally stressed and anxious and have classic TMS personality traits. A little core in me niggles about the leg length issue and that maybe I do need a 'structural' intervention... I feel silly even as I write that but the fear is within me.. and that fear is connected with something in my head that worries that building up walking may not be good for me..

    Has anyone else experienced professionals focusing on leg length?
    Any support/ advice about how to think psychologically about this and move through these fears gratefully received...
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I've been told that one leg is a little shorter (by my old trainer), that it just looks that way because of some other issue with my foot (orthopedic surgeon), that it's actually due to some issue with my hip (physical therapist). For me this is really just all part of TMS...I think Dr. Sarno mentions people being told one leg is shorter in one of his books...or it could be in another TMS book. I very rarely have foot or leg pain anymore since working on TMS.
    spiralgirl1 likes this.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dr Sarno does discount leg length discrepancies. But I think that Dr. Marc Sopher puts it more succinctly: If one of your legs was shorter than the other since you were born and there wasn't any problem for a long time, why would there suddenly be a problem with the discrepancy now? You accommodated to the anomaly for years without any pain, why should it start hurting now? That is, the root of your problem is most likely psychogenic (i.e. TMS). Also, all that advice from the osteopath probably conditioned you to expect pain.

    I broke my left heel over twenty-years ago in 1989/90 (yes, it was a New Year's present!), and there was absolutely no pain on that side until after my mother died in January 2001. What was the life event that precede the onset of my pain symptoms? Death of mother, not physical injury. My heel had healed (so to speak!) many, many years before, but possibly the pain memories were still embedded in the limbic region of my brain (seat of emotions and memory), so were reactivated by a traumatic emotional event such as the death of a parent that I was very close to. I'd been hiking on the heel, running on the heel, using the heel in bike shoes for years and years without a twinge of pain. My pain only began after an emotionally traumatic life event. Your problem of course may be harder to identify because the triggering event may have been more subtle than a broken bone.
    spiralgirl1 and Forest like this.
  4. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Hi! Well, here's my 2 cents... although it's easier said that done.... what I would suggest is to keep bombarding your mind with reasons why it is not structural, why it is TMS/PPD. Refer to this thread for advice on overcoming the doubt: http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/is-it-ppd-tms-or-a-real-structural-issue.270/

    Maybe my personal story will help... I was born with an additional vertebrae in my low back. An X-Ray clearly shows this congenital defect. Every time my back hurt, I pictured that X-Ray in my mind. This was my excuse for 20 years of back pain until I read The Divided Mind in 2007. Now I rarely get any back pain and when I do, it dissipates in a matter of days. Our minds are so easily conditioned.... yet we can choose our own conditioning. Do we choose to be conditioned by what a Dr tells us (a nocebo) or do we chose something else? I choose something else. I choose the truth which is TMS/PPD.

    Pandamonium and spiralgirl1 like this.
  5. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Hi Spiralgirl,

    I experienced a kind of similar 'short and long leg' situation for six weeks. I had an operation in my right foot, just last month. After surgery I could not stand and put pressure on the right foot. For that purpose I had to wear a special shoe with a big platform that made my right hip higher than the left. In fact, I was a number of centimeters higher on the right than in the left hip which was like having a very pronounced short and long leg.

    It pays to say that I already had a strong 'signal' before the operation in my right and left hip, so the short and long leg effect did not make my pain less or more. I had to wear the jolly shoe for six weeks. I just came off it last week. Nothing has changed, as in the psychological signal comes and goes. Sometimes I am free of symptioms but this is because I am working on it, being aware of it. MorComm's statement contains some interesting food for thought... "if one of your legs was shorter than the other since you were born and there wasn't any problem for a long time, why would there suddenly be a problem with the discrepancy now?"

    Hang in there and keep working on clean thoughts
    spiralgirl1 likes this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a great quote. I see this as being similar to people who mention they developed some sort of symptom by working on a computer, after doing so for years without any symptoms. TMS/PPD tries to disquise itself as something that we will think is a serious structural problem, hence if we think one leg is shorter then the other a PPD symptom will probably pop up there. As Dr. Sopher mentioned, if it was as structural problem then why did it start seemingly out of nowhere. A good starting point in a situation like this is to make a list of your life stressors and begin to identify reasons (like Enrique mentioned) of why you have PPD and what emotional issues may be behind it.

    The most important thing is how we view chronic symptoms. If our first response to having pain is to think Oh no what did I do? we may risk falling back into the PPD trap. But if we understand that most of these symptoms are simply PPD and make our first thought when they occur My PPD is trying to tell me something. What emotions are behind this symptom, we will be able to brush off flare ups quickly.
    spiralgirl1 and quasar731 like this.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    MorComm likes this.
  8. spiralgirl1

    spiralgirl1 Peer Supporter

    Thank you all for your responses... it still surprises me at times how sneaky my mind is at finding ways to predominate the structural and bring doubt and fear into the equation.. I seem to have a huge variety of ways of attacking myself at my disposal. I feel a renewed clarity and strength in wanting to sort this out properly. Lots of work to do but that's all good...
    Really useful links from Enrique and Forest... :)

    MorComm -I did indeed have some very intense emotional events and period of change and instability which predated and continued into a massive attack of spasm and pain. That was such a physical and emotional shock to me ... the TMS really then took hold and I connected my pain and 'diagnosis ' to an accident I had had 20 years earlier even though I had a sense that my 'back going out' was 'for a reason'
    and trying to tell me to stop. I was so stubborn (and scared) though I did not want to listen to my inner voice.

    Best wishes to all..
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, Spiral, the accident you had 20 years ago may have left 'pain memories' in your brain that also connected with nerve pathways that had been activated back then. I suspect that's the way it is with my broken left heel. But you're probably correct to suspect that those "very intense emotional events and period of change" was the psychological trigger that reactivated your spasms. That's exactly the way it was for me: I broke my left heel in 1989/90 and it 'healed up' after a year or so, and I returned to full activity. Then, after my mother died in 2001, I started getting sciatica when I was out running that climaxed in a major back attack that the conventional docs diagnosed as a herniated disk between L3-L4 (not coincidentally on my left side). I remember blaming the herniated disk on the deformity in my left heel that caused me to wobble when I ran. I realize now that I was out running intensely to get rid of the overwhelming emotions I had repressed at the time of my mother's passing. Anger, guilt, sorrow: the "Big Three"! That was what really caused my herniated disk pain to flare up into a massive back attack accompanied by spasms. You might call it, to coin a phrase, systemic emotional overload that reactivated the nerve pain pathways on my left side. I know the conventional docs would say, "Fooee", but I realize now that this makes perfect sense in terms of Dr. Sarno's TMS theory and also recollects what Dr. Peter A. Levine calls "traumatic reenactment".
  10. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    When I lie on my back - my left leg is longer than the right. When I lie on my stomach, my right leg is longer than the left. Or maybe it was the other way around? Just another reason to schedule me for several more appointments with whomever it was at the time.

    Hope this makes you feel better. I have a lift too. It's in a pair of shoes I rarely wear. Doesn't matter if I have it in there or not.

    Besides, as I recall this "practitioner" wasn't sure which shoe I should use either.

    So - no worries. I think that there are many many people with this. I mean, how could ALL our imperfect bodies have the same length legs? To a T?

  11. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    I agree BG, I just remembered that every time I went to a chiropractor he/she ended telling me that I had one leg longer than the other. I think it is a regular thing for a number of people. Whether this affects us or not, I don't know. Because of the injuries and the operations I had in the last 7 months, I ended with one hip very visibly higher than the other. My physio and Pilates teacher keep reminding me of it. The modification in walking gait that I had since the injury and surgery is causing the hip to go upwards. So I keep mindful of the alignment of my body, not an easy thing to do and I do not claim being very successful at it.
  12. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    Your situation is different than mine as I've had no surgery. Who knows what they did with those tendons around your hip. Perhaps with the Pilates, you will regain a little length in that leg by relaxing and strengthening those tendons and muscles. . Yes it's tough to be mindful, but it sounds like you have a great instructor. Hang in there, this too shall pass.

  13. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Thank you BG for your input. This is the area that I am finding extremely challenging. When it comes to my hips, with a double impingement in my left hip, my operated foot which has a plate and 7 screws. The surgery in my right hip. Tomorrow will be 2 months ever since I had the foot and hip operations.

    Today I went shopping. I was walking like a Japanese Geisha o_O. I could not do my typical long steps. The bones at the top of foot were excruciating. My left hip was also highly symptomatic. I felt like yelling my lungs out in frustration:eek: . I thought TMS and then I thought...how about if this is just the surgery and the fact that an impingement in the hip can interfere with the movement of the hip. I am so confused!!! I had to reach for analgesics because I was to the point of tears:( Today is not a brilliant day, tomorrow will be better. Thank you for reading.

    Health and happiness!
  14. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    Your determination is admirable. But it seems you are trying so hard. You "get" the concept and through what you've written, it sounds like you agree with the dx. So....that leaves giving your body time to heal after these procedures. Yes - your pain can be perpetuated by TMS. But it can also be "surgery stuff" and you may have to slow down a bit and give yourself breaks. Emotional breaks. The kind where a bad day doesn't end this journey for you.Not saying that's what is happening, just making sure you see this too. Part of a TMS personality is perfectionism, and you seem to want to write that success story over the weekend!

    Good attitude, except try not to get down on yourself for not speeding ahead to the place of no pain! I still take pain medication for my back pain. I know why the pain is there, yet my life is so busy I have no time to sit and rest. So years ago, before I knew there was NOTHING really wrong with me, I started taking pain medication. I still do. But I also practice my TMS every day.Getting off these meds is a high priority.

    It's not a race. It's truly a journey of discovery. And part of that is knowing when to give ourselves a break when the pain gets to be too much. No matter what it takes to get comfortable. The time will come when your body will be healed and this will all become much easier for you.

    Hang in there! Here's to a better day!

  15. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Again thank you BG, it is comforting that you still reach for analgesics when the going gets too tough to handle it just with psychological acknowledgement. I realized that I felt guilty that I had to take pain killers when I could not hack the pressure of symptoms any longer. Then I thought...what am I doing by inducing guilt on myself? I can't do this,:( I am already dealing with an awful lot. The idea is to 'unload ineffective cognitions not to be overloaded with more toxic thoughts'. Like you I see as a priority to be free of analgesics one day. I am not taking them on a daily basis thank God. I try to manage symptoms with mindfulness, rest and exercises. Even if I was not doing the TMS work, I am still of the idea that one cannot become dependent on medication. Adaptation is part and parcel of evolutionary nature. If one uses analgesics on a daily basis, soon or later they stop being effective and one has to jack up the dose of change for something more powerful.

    Today when I return home I had symptoms and was overwhelmed by them. I got home, prepared my oolong ceremony tea. and sat with my husband to watch a funny move. Laughing they say is the best medicine, I had a good chuckle and rested and I am just fine now.

    Blessings to you!

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