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Leg Length Discrepancy and Short Right Leg Syndrome - Introduction

I am a Remedial Massage Therapist in Melbourne, Australia. Graduate of Swinburne University of Technology, 2007. Remedial Massage Therapy is an assessment and treatment framework incorporating the fundamentals of Physiotherapy to assess posture, pain and injury. Treatment is largely massage based to release tightness, strengthen weakness and promote circulation. My practice also includes Osteopathic Fascial Release techniques, Craniosacral Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medical practices of Cupping, Gua Sha and Dry Needling. With a background in both Eastern and Western medical science and philosophy, I bring an understanding of underlying energetics to assessment. Remedial Massage and Myotherapy are the only forms of therapeutic massage treatment recognised by the Health Department and are typically covered as an extras item for insurance purposes under Natural Therapies. I am a registered provider with all Health Funds and Workcover.


Unknowingly seeing the signs and symptoms of Short Right Leg Syndrome (SRLS) early in my practice, they appeared to be random inexplicable aberrations until the possibility of a common structurally short right leg was brought to my attention by a Craniosacral Therapy instructor, Malcolm Hiort. I was sceptical but, within two months, assessing the leg length of every client presenting in clinic verified the claim. There was no hint of it in our training at University and it would seem to be overlooked by medico’s and therapists generally in this country. This is a mystery to me because with few exceptions, everyone has a short right leg. Even or near even legs are rare. I do not see short left legs.


I have identified the key features of SRLS, have a plausible theory for the presence of this dominant genetic trait in Homo Sapiens and specified a rudimentary assessment and treatment protocol. My experience treating the condition is not yet extensive. However, considerable success has been achieved with a number of clients who suffered long term acute conditions. I would describe my understanding of the condition as comprehensive. It might be considered beyond the scope of practice of Remedial Massage Therapists and Myotherapists trained in this country as I bring an understanding of the Eastern philosophy of energy/Qi flow. However, the anatomical description I provide and ability to palpate bony structure and muscle tone will give these and other therapeutic practitioners sufficient knowledge to understand, assess and treat the condition.


With few exceptions, practitioners with whom I have broached the subject doubt the condition exists and dismiss its relevance without consideration. Preferring to cling to their models of TMJ and Cervical dysfunction causing dural drag working down the spine, etc. These theories should be reviewed in light of the universal existence of a short right leg causing pelvic tilt working up the spine and down the legs, not to mention the imposition of a major energetic block at the pelvis playing havoc with the metabolism potentially having an adverse effect on reproduction, digestion and vitality.


I have personal experience with this condition. Suffering a lumbro-sacral injury due to the asymmetry of a leg length difference combined with elite level athletic activity. While the injury healed, a previously damaged left knee lost all integrity and was no longer able to manage the training load. I was forced to retire from sport. In the following five years I consulted nine medico's and therapists for low back and leg issues. This included one hospital admission to assess possible thrombosis in the right leg. Leg length was never assessed and treatment received did not change the status quo of my condition. Leg function continued to deteriorate. Twice in the latter stages I considered the possibility of retirement and purchase of a mobility scooter to get to the supermarket. It was not until a minor relapse of the original disk bulge injury due to a stiff legged Frankenstein like gait, that I considered I might need an adjusting heel lift under the short leg. Details of my story are Case 4 in the Notes section.


A senior educator and practitioner in my field, Steven Goldstein, has stated this material should be published in a medical journal. I have approached the professional Association I am a member of for inclusion of this material in their quarterly journal. I am still working on that but expect the full extent of this work will be heavily edited and truncated. Due to the cross pollination in medical fields between Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA, I am guessing that if SRLS is not considered in medical examinations in this country it will be similarly neglected in these other countries too. Based on reports from Colombian and Dutch clients, I suspect it gets more attention in some other countries. It really is a big thing and I reveal new insights to the condition gleaned through the fusion of East and West I practice.


Simon Crittenden

Remedial Massage Therapist

Member of Massage & Myotherapy Australia


Massage Works Dandenong Ranges

18 First Ave, Cockatoo  VIC  3781  Australia

+61 416 268 255

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