After a new hip replacement I started having back pain that I never had before. My doctor thinks it might be that one leg is longer than the other. The plan is to wait and see what happens. Does this mean the doctor just doesn't know what to do about it?

Actually it tells us your doctor knows a lot about what happens next. In the months after a hip replacement you'll be busy with healing, rehab, and recovery. That's not the best time to do something about a possible leg length difference.

About three to six months after surgery you should start to see a relaxation of the hip and leg muscles. Some doctors won't even allow the patient to use a shoe insert or shoe lift until a full six months has passed.

Make sure your physical therapist knows this is a problem. The PT can often help bring about a change through stretching and/or strengthening exercises. Ask your doctor again what can be done if there's still a problem at your six-month check-up.


Charles R. Clark, MD, et al. Leg-Length Discrepancy After Total Hip Arthroplasty. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. January 2006. Vol. 14. No. 1. Pp.38-45.


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