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Leg length differences and deformities

Dr. Mackie developed an interest in the correction of leg length differences in children with altered growth due to birth conditions or secondary to trauma to growing bones.  His work with several surgeons in Melbourne and in Toronto Canada involved training in surgical techniques to help correct leg length differences and other angular or rotational deformities in bones.   Dr. Mackie treats children with deformities that may be evolving or adults with more static deformities.

Long bones in the body grow from one or both ends due to progressive laying-down of bone at a growth plate.  Any disturbance to the normal function of a growth plate will lead to an alteration in that bone’s final length or shape.  The disturbance may be present at birth or may occur at any stage during growth.

Long bones are prone to fracture  / breakage or trauma.  Although healing of most fractures is uncomplicated, a small number of injuries will be followed by a persistent alteration in the shape of the bone.

Common Causes of Deformities

  • Trauma to bone and growth plates: such as fractures.
  • Congenital: defects that are present at birth and may change further with growth.
  • Infection: damages growing bones and growth plates in a very unpredictable manner.
  • Neuromuscular: conditions such as cerebral palsy result in muscle imbalance, which slowly effects underlying bone growth.
  • Tumours and Tumour-Like Conditions: can damage growth plates or require segments of bone to be removed.
  • Metabolic Growth Disturbance: such as Vitamin D deficiency will weaken bones and growth plates.
  • Unknown: sometimes there is no obvious cause found for a difference between bones identified during growth.

The treatment of leg length differences may be as simple as providing a shoe insert of the required height in the shorter leg or may involve complex surgical interventions spaced over many months or years.

Related Information

Bone Deformity Correction