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Heel Lifts For Leg Length Discrepancy – The Best Solution To Kids’ Leg Length Discrepancy

Shoe Lifts For Leg Length Discrepancy

Has your child been diagnosed with leg length discrepancy? I know this might sound like a serious issue, but you shouldn’t panic! Leg length discrepancy in kids is more common than you’d think and the cause is unknown. The greater the discrepancy between the legs, the more problems this can cause!

What is leg length discrepancy? It is an orthopedic problem that usually appears in young children, in which a child’s two legs are of unequal length. Basically this means that your kid’s legs are slightly different lengths, with one being longer than the other.

I have been working at a specialized children shoe store for over 6 years now, and we help children who have orthopedic problems. I have fitted several children that have leg length discrepancy, and the proper pair of shoes with heel lifts will will make a huge difference in the way your child walks!

The main issue with having leg length discrepancy is that it can cause knee, hip, and lower back pain!

Did you know that wearing the right type of shoes and heel lifts may be all your child needs to reduce or completely eliminate the pain they are experiencing?

I will describe the best shoes and heel lifts  for a child that has leg length discrepancy!

What Are Some Of The Causes For Leg Length Discrepancy In Kids?

Some of the possible causes involve:

  • An injury or infection that slows down the growth of one leg bone.
  • An injury to the growth plate that slows down bone growth in that leg.
  • A fracture to a leg bone that might cause overgrowth of the bone as it heals.
  • A hereditary problem.
  • Certain conditions that affect the muscles and nerves, such as polio.

Leg Length Discrepancy Symptoms

You might be asking yourself: What does a shoe fitter knows about leg length discrepancy? I actually helped several children that come to the store with a leg length discrepancy looking for shoes and lifts.

I am an expert in fitting these kids with lifts and shoes, and I have seen the positive impact that a good fitting shoe can have in their walking and running, and most importantly, how it can significantly reduce or completely eliminate any pain that your child might have been experiencing!

I wrote a post where I describe the most durable and better-made kids’ sneakers! The post is called:

The Best Kids Sneakers – Learn About The Best Shoes For Children Ages 3 Through 10

When Should I Take My Child To The Doctor?

As parents watch their children grow and begin to crawl, a discrepancy in leg length will usually become more obvious. If you believe or suspect that your child has a leg length discrepancy and he is complaining about pain, you should take him to your pediatrician or physical therapist.

Heel Lifts Leg Length Discrepancy

Depending on the amount of difference between your kids’ leg lengths, your pediatrician will discuss treatment options carefully with you before any decisions are made. While I am not a doctor, I have learned that no treatment is generally required if your kid’s final leg length discrepancy is less than 2 centimeters at full height. However, if the discrepancy is more than 2 centimeters, doctors might require one of the two options mentioned below:

  • Surgery to shorten the longer leg or to lengthen the shorter leg.
  • A heel lift in one shoe.

Obviously the heel lift option is the most convenient and economical one, and it is not nearly as invasive. Something as simple as wearing the correct pair of shoes with a pair of heels lifts is all that your child might need!

Prevent Long Term Problems By Acting Early – Good Shoes And Lifts!

If your child has leg length discrepancy, he can still play and run around without any problems. However, like I mentioned before, if the child has more than 2 centimeters of leg length discrepancy and you don’t treat it, problems such as hip, back, and knee pain will arise as the child grows!

That is why it’s extremely important that you provide your child with the correct pair of heel lifts and shoes to improve  the way they are walking, and to preventing them from putting more pressure on certain parts of his body. Wearing the right type of shoes will help them redistribute their body weight and prevent putting excess pressure on one of the feet and legs!

Leg Discrepancy Shoe Lifts

The Best Heel Lifts For Kids’ – Stop The Pain!

At the children’s shoe store that I work for we specialize in kids with foot issues that need special fitting shoes and orthotics. After fitting children in heel lifts through the years, I can tell you with confidence that no single heel lift product works best in every shoe. While in most cases the doctor recommends the parent with a specific heel lift. But in certain cases parents need to purchase it on their own and this can create all sort of confusion and frustration!

I will show you the most popular and best-made heel lifts for kids! Firm in-compressible heel lifts are the most effective when it comes to treating leg length discrepancy in kids. These heel lifts below are ideal not only for children with leg-length discrepancies, but they are also excellent for those suffering from heel spurs and ankle pain!

Your kids’ will have a much better experience walking and running around in a pair of heel lifts paired with the right shoes!

Below you can find the best heel lifts for children!

The Best Fitting Shoes For Heel Lifts – Choose Them Carefully!

Our main goal is to find shoes that will fit the heel lifts perfectly! Once we place the heel lifts inside the shoes, the lift should fit deep inside them, that way your child won’t feel like his feet are coming out of the shoe when he walks or runs!

For example, when I fit a child in an orthotic, I have to find a shoe with a deeper end, and the deeper the shoe, the better the orthotic will fit inside the shoe. I have fitted a selection of shoes that tend to work best with heel lifts, and I will share these shoe styles with you! We are basically looking for three things in the shoe:

  1. A very deep end for the lift to fit inside the shoe properly.
  2. A firm heel counter for ankle support.
  3. Good support for everyday walking and running.

I always recommend that parents take their kids to their local children’s shoe store to have their shoes properly fitted. However, if you don’t have a local shoe store, below you can find a selection of the best fitting shoes for heel lifts!

The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).

This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

Now that you know the best shoes for heels lifts, your are ready to make the most informed decision! Don’t forget to provide your child with a good pair of socks, since these are just as important as shoes when it comes to keeping your kids’ feet healthy!

I don’t go over it in this post, but I do describe the best socks for kids’ in another post called:

The Importance Of Wearing Socks – The Best Socks For Kids’

Does your child have leg length discrepancy? How are you treating it? Have you find a pair of lifts and shoes that work best for his or her feet? Please share your experiences below so we can all benefit from them!


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

18 Comments on Heel Lifts For Leg Length Discrepancy – The Best Solution To Kids’ Leg Length Discrepancy

  1. My child’s friend has leg length discrepancy and she had no idea what to do about it. Her doctor told her to leave it alone since the discrepancy was not enough to worry. However, her child is complaining about leg pain now. I will show her this article. Great review and great list of products to help with this issue.

    • If the child is experiencing pain, something must be done as soon as possible. Good shoes and lift will take care of the pain issue. Please let her know that the pain can be removed by wearing the correct pair of shoes with a pair of heel lifts.

  2. My daughter sometimes complains about her feet hurting, but she’s two so I really didn’t pay it any attention at first. I mentioned it to her pediatrician, and nothing came of it. And it doesn’t appear that she has leg length discrepancy at this time. I will continue to monitor the situation as she grows, and should she need something, I now know where to find it!

    • Christian,

      Keep an eye on your daughter’s foot and leg pain. It is NEVER normal for children to experience foot or leg pain. If the pain persists, definitely take her to another pediatrician and get a second opinion! Also, please make sure she is wearing the correct pair of shoes. By this, I mean shoes that are good and supprtive, and they must be the correct size for her feet.

  3. I didn’t know this was such an issue.I know my child has leg length discrepancy but the doctor told us he was okay for now and we shouldn’t worry about it. We are worried because he is walking funny lately. Is this something that kids can grow out of? Will one leg catch up to the other?

    I can certainly see the problems this can create, with balance, and how it can effect other parts of the body. Our bodies are designed to be aligned a certain way. I am afraid my kids’ feet and legs are hurting him and he is not saying anything.

    • You should definitely provide your child with a heel lift or an orthotic to compensate for the discrepancy. I recommend that you get a second opinion immediately, to make sure your kids’ feet and legs are doing okay. I have fitted several children with heel lifts and they make a tremendous difference in the way they walk!

  4. Hi Juan

    But isn’t it better to buy heel lifts at some physical stores? I think it would be the best to physically place the lift inside the shoe to see if it fits the shoe. In order to solve the problem, the lift has to fit the shoe perfectly, hasn’t it? I checked few of the review on Amazon for these heel lifts and while some customers find these heel lifts perfect, some others state that these appear to be too narrow for the certain shoe. So ordering online is a bit risky, isn’t it? As this is very serious problem for kids so we cannot do something wrong. At least, this is my point of view.

    • Arta,

      I always recommend to parents to take their children to their local children’s shoe store to have their feet properly measured. The same applies to when they are looking for heel lifts. However, not every parent has a local kids’ shoe store that they trust. I have received hundreds of emails from parents asking me to review a certain shoe or to show which shoes are better than others.

      Big retail stores such as Stride Rite or Nordstrom’s don’t qualify as fitting stores. They don’t even carry heel lifts. I always advise to parents to stay away from these stores since in order to make a sale, they will put your child in the wrong pair of shoes. I wrote a post about it that you might find interesting, it’s called: The Best Place To Buy Kids Shoes – Avoid Stride Rite, Nordstrom, Payless…

  5. I can see that its so important to act quickly and appropriately if your child has a leg length discrepancy to prevent too much pressure causing damage which may stay with the child for life if it isn’t dealt with quickly.
    Its amazing really that just from using heel lifts a lot of pain and issues can be avoided. Thank you for this information. Very informative.

    • Jen,

      Taking immediate action is key in order to prevent future injuries and pain. A simple and inexpensive thing WILL prevent problems when the child gets older!

  6. great post ! thank you.
    can i fit a one-inch feet lift inside the shoes you are recommending above?
    also, what would be the best to wear inside the house e.g. slippers.


  7. My daughter has a 31mm difference and we’ve been recommended to have special lifts made on the outside of the shoe (very costly and noticeable). Would you recommend a lift fitting on the inside of a shoe for this much of a discrepancy? And any recommendations for summer shoes as well?

    • Hello Hallie,

      In this particular case the discrepancy is more than 2 centimeters, and that’s when doctors might require either surgery or a heel lift. Obviously the heel lift option is the most convenient and economical one, and it is not nearly as invasive.
      You should have asked the doctor if you could start with an over the counter heel lift and see how your daughter reacts to it instead of investing right away in a pair of special lifts.

  8. Hello Juan,
    Thank you for the article. My 5 years daughter has this discrepancy 0.5 cm. The first doctor which we visited, told us that is ok and she have only to wear sandals with height and hard heel, the second doctor told us to put the lift 0.5 cm in the left shoe (left leg is shorter). As I read, discrepancy less than 2 cm no need a treatment. I am confused now. I don’t know how to proceed. If we will buy this lift for one shoe, have she wear this all day? Thank you in advance.

    • Hello Elena,

      I am not a doctor, so you should do what they recommend. Is she experiencing any type of foot or leg pain? If she is not, I wouldn’t worry about it too much since the difference is so little.
      If she is having foot or leg pain then definitely try a lift in her shoes. If you do buy a lift for her shoe the more she wears it the better.

      When it comes to sandals, try Keen sandals, they have a very hard and sturdy sole. You can learn more about them here:
      Keen Sandals For Children – The Best Summer Sandal

  9. Hello juan,my son had a hip infussion about 3 months ago.and the leg discrepancy is 3 1/4 inches.And they want us to get a heel lift for him.but is so expensive plus how many shoes are you gonna do the lift just too much money and heart breaking dont know what to do.can we get an over the counter shoe lift for can it work.he is 12 years old and so miserable right now.

    • Hello Ifunanya,

      That is a question you should have asked the doctor. I always recommend trying the least expensive option first and monitoring how it works. Maybe a heel lift with a good supportive shoe is all what your child needs but we won’t know until you try it. Ask the doctor if you can start with a heel lift first. They definitely do work, but it varies from child to child.
      Please follow up with me and let me know what they tell you.

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