To what extent does leg length discrepancy impair motor activity in patients after total hip arthroplasty?
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of limb lengthening up to 20 mm after THA on symmetry of hip kinematics and kinetics during common activities of daily living. Twenty patients (age range 49–80 years) operated on with Link Lubinus II THA, with lateral access and a mean follow-up of 16 months, were assessed by gait analysis during level walking, stair ascending and descending. The time-distance, hip kinetics and kinematics values were statistically compared between the operated side and the non-operated side in order to assess symmetry. The 12-item Questionnaire was used to assess satisfaction and personal perception of limb lengthening. Mean value of limb lengthening after THA was 11 mm (SD 6). Minor abnormalities were found in the kinematics and kinetics of the operated and non-operated hips during level walking and stair climbing. The score of the questionnaire corresponded to a high level of satisfaction after THA and only two patients complained of limping independent from the amount of discrepancy. From this study we can conclude that a leg length inequality in the range of 1–20 mm does not impair the symmetry of time–distance parameters and of hip kinematics and kinetics during gait and stairs walking. Although objective, gait analysis data did not correspond to patient’s perception of discrepancy, which is subjective and irrespective of the amount of lengthening. There is biomechanical evidence that a limb lengthening of up to two centimetres after THA in general does not need to be corrected by means of a contralateral shoe lift. Individual decisions to the contrary need to be justified.
KeywordsGait Analysis Limb Length Discrepancy Level Walking Extension Moment External Rotation Moment
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