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Heel Lifts for Leg Length Discrepancy – The Best Solution to Kids’ Leg Length Discrepancy


Has your child been diagnosed with leg length discrepancy? Has your physical or occupational therapist recommended a pair of heel lifts to be fitted inside your kids’ shoes but didn’t specify which specific heel lifts you should buy? Being diagnosed with leg length discrepancy sounds like a serious issue, but you shouldn’t panic. I am going to show you the best heel lifts for leg length discrepancy that I have fitted at the shoe store where I work.

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

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.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

I have been working at a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and we help children who have orthopedic problems. I have fitted several children that have leg length discrepancies in the correct pair of shoes and heel lifts, and they make a huge difference in improving the way a child walks and runs. You will also notice an improvement in your child’s posture right away.


Leg length discrepancy in kids is more common than you’d think and the cause remains unknown. The greater the discrepancy between the legs, the more problems this can cause.

Don’t Take the “Wait and See Approach” – Be Proactive!

I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your children’s foot conditions untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.

The main issue with leaving leg length discrepancy untreated is that it might lead to knee, hip, and lower back pain in the future.

If your kid’s total leg length discrepancy is less than 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) at full height then no treatment is required, but if your child is experiencing foot or leg pain due to the discrepancy, then surgeons often recommend a heel lift as an alternative to a surgical approach.

What Are Some of the Causes for Leg Length Discrepancy in Kids?

Some of the possible causes include:

1️⃣ An injury or infection that slows down the growth of one leg bone.

2️⃣ An injury to the growth plate that slows down bone growth in that leg.

3️⃣ A fracture to a leg bone that might cause an overgrowth of the bone as it heals.

4️⃣ A hereditary problem.

5️⃣ Certain conditions affect the muscles and nerves, such as polio.

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


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, you should take your child to be evaluated by your pediatrician or physical therapist.

Conservative Treatments for Leg Length Discrepancy

Depending on the discrepancy 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 (0.8 inches), doctors might require surgery to shorten the longer leg or to lengthen the shorter leg.

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 might be all that your child needs.

Firm in-compressible heel lifts are the most effective ones when it comes to treating leg length discrepancy in kids. The 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.

Let me show you a selection of the best shoes and heel lifts for a child that has leg length discrepancy. Keep in mind that if the heel lifts are not fitted in the correct type of shoes, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the heel lifts have to offer.

Heel Lifts for Leg Length Discrepancy

Your children will have a much better experience walking and running around in a pair of heel lifts, as long as they are paired with the right shoes. Below you can find a selection of the best heel lifts for children. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Do not hesitate to contact me with your child’s exact leg length discrepancy so I can provide you with more specific recommendations: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com 

Keep in mind that if heel lifts are not fitted in the correct pair of shoes, you will defeat the whole purpose of your child wearing a pair of heel lifts. The shoes need to provide extra depth to allow the heel lifts to fit deeply inside of the shoes, otherwise, your child is going to have the impression that his/her feet are coming out of the shoes.

We are basically looking for 3 things in your kids’ shoes:

1️⃣ Extra depth for the lift to fit inside the shoe properly.

2️⃣ Firm heel counter for ankle support.

3️⃣ 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. Let’s make sure that you don’t have a good-fitting children’s shoe store in your area. I created a resource that describes the best-fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where To Go for Proper Fittings

I only review shoes that I have fitted before, as that is the only way for me to tell how well-made the shoes are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

The Best Fitting Shoes for Heel Lifts ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The shoes below will fit a child that has medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide (XW) feet.

These shoes provide excellent support, and they are lightweight and flexible at the same time. The shoes are also breathable and durable.

How to Tie Shoes to Secure Your Child’s Heels and Prevent Heel Slippage

Make sure that your child pulls the velcro or the shoelaces comfortably tight, otherwise your child might experience a lot of heel movement. The heel lift is already raising your kids’ feet, that’s why it’s so important that you prevent heel slippage by making the shoes comfortably tight. If your child is wearing a pair of shoes with shoelaces, take a look at the article below that describes the most effective shoe tying technique for kids who wear heel lifts inside their shoes:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

Prevent Long-Term Problems by Taking Early Action – Good Shoes and Lifts!

If your kids are diagnosed with leg length discrepancy, they can still play and run around without any problems. However, as 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 children with the correct pair of heel lifts and shoes to improve the way they are walking, and to prevent them from putting pressure on certain parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to. Wearing the right type of shoes can help them redistribute their body weight and prevent putting excess pressure on one of the feet and legs.

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. 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 sorts of confusion and frustration.

Does your child have leg length discrepancy? How are you treating it? Have you found a pair of lifts and shoes that have worked well for your child’s 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 kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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26 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.


    • Hatim,

      Yes, but don´t forget to remove the inner sole and choose one of the New Balance styles, since they are deeper than the Saucony ones. You need to speak to whoever recommended the heel lifts and ask if your child can wear something else besides his/her sneakers around the house. If they say yes, take a look at this psot where I describe the best slippers for kids:

      Supportive Slippers for Kids – These are the Best Slippers for Kids with Foot Problems

      • The link you included takes me to adult sided inserts which will not fit my child’s shoes. Also, the fact that this company only offers one size (2cm) lift is concerning since anyone underwing this serious issue will understand how individual the lift should be

        • Hi Lisa,

          Thank you for your feedback. Please carefully review the heel lifts recommended as a woman’s shoe size 4 translates to a child’s shoe size 2. If your child wears a shoe size smaller than a size 2 do not hesitate to contact me directly and I will find you an alternative: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

          Leg length discrepancy is not necessarily a serious issue as long as the discrepancy is less than 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) at full height. In this case no treatment is required, but if your child is experiencing foot or leg pain due to the discrepancy, then surgeons often recommend a heel lift as an alternative to a surgical approach.

          Unfortunately there are no many heel lifts available for children. One alternative is to buy your child a shoe lift, which will allow you to choose a more precise size, but it can cost you around $100. I usually don’t recommend this alternative as children can outgrow their shoes anywhere between 4 to 6 months (depending on their age).

  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 on.is just too much money and heart breaking dont know what to do.can we get an over the counter shoe lift for him.plus 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.

  10. For my toddler who is 1.5 years old with a shoe size of EU 27 and who has a leg length discrepancy of 3 cm, which shoe can accommodate a 3 cm heel lift inside?

  11. Hi. My son was involved in an accident and was on a spica cast for 2 and a hslf months… Doc did not do sufficient follow-up. His femur fracture was set skew and he now has a 3cm leg discrepancy. We received our shoe with the heel lift stuck on the shoes. How long does he wear it for and how do we monitor growth… No instructions have been given to us. My son is 4 years old

    • Hi Seema,

      I believe that the condition is not going to get corrected on its own. You can treat it by keep wearing the shoes with the lift and monitor your son for any foot or leg pain.

      This is a situation in which you would have to consult with your doctor. Because your son’s difference is more than 1 inch (2.5 cm), you should consult with your doctor is surgery might help.

    • Hi Vanessa,

      I am going to need further information in order to help you find the correct pair of shoes. I am going to need your daughter’s foot size, and whether she has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

      I suggest that you send me that information via email: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com and then I would be able to send you specific shoe recommendations. If you can I also recommend that you include a picture of the shoe raise.

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