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.

About Leg Length Discrepancy

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. 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: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) 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. 

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.

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.

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!