Simple Technique to Adapt Shoes for Uneven Legs

Having legs that are uneven is not that uncommon, as there are several reasons why this could be. Some people may be born with a dislocated hip that causes the unevenness, develop an infection or tumor, or perhaps they may fracture the hip. And, another category of people who may have uneven leg length is those who have had hip replacements. Having a shorter leg after a hip replacement isn't necessarily a given, it also isn't an unusual outcome.

Studies of hip replacements have shown that some people end up with a leg length difference of more than 10 millimeters in three to 29 percent of patients, or 10 to 15 mm difference in 32 percent of patients. While the difference may not be bothersome for some people, it is for others. Uneven legs can cause other problems, including strain on the other hip and back pain. The solution for many is to put a lift on to the shoe for the shorter leg, but this can be difficult, depending on the style shoe to be adapted and it can be quite expensive, particularly if you own several types of shoes.

The authors of this article present a technique to adjust footwear that is not specifically meant for adaptation, giving people more options as to what shoes to wear. Their technique takes shoes with a very thick sole, similar to the shoes that were popular in the 1970s. These shoes are again becoming popular. By taking off height, rather than putting on height, you are eliminating the need for specialized shoe repair and adding parts to the shoe that shouldn't really be there by design.

There are three steps to the process:

One: Wrap the shoe on the toe end with a towel or protective sheet to protect it. Use this part, the toe that is now protected, to mount the shoe into a vice. This is needed to keep the shoe from moving when you cut it.

Two: Mark the shoe for the desired thickness. Rather than measuring what it to come off, you want to measure what is staying.

Three: Using a serrated blade, the authors recommend the Ginsu variety, cut down from the heel to halfway to the toe. At this point, take the shoe out of the vice to continue cutting. Be careful to cut away from you to prevent injury.

Once you have removed the excess part of the sole, you can trim the bottom part with a Dremel rotary tool to engrave a grip or pattern similar to the other shoe. Rinse off any debris before trying this.

The authors offer this technique because it allows people with leg length differences, particularly women, to adapt their shoes with a minimum of cost.

Reference: 

Eric W. Tan and Simon C. Mears. Cut to fit: a simple solution for fashionable shoe lift. In Current Orthopaedic Practice. January/February 2010. Vol. 21. No. 1. Pp. 94 to 95.

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