Limb Length Discrepancy


Limb length discrepancies or differences are conditions that result in limbs that are unequal in length or that exhibit other anomalies. The conditions occur when bones or joints in the arms or legs are abnormal or become damaged. Providers might refer to these conditions as limb-length discrepancies, limb differences or limb-length conditions.


Limb-length conditions can result from:

  • Congenital disorders of the bones, muscles or joints
  • Disuse or overuse of the bones, muscles or joints caused by illness or disease
  • Diseases
  • Issues of the spine, shoulder or hip
  • Traumatic injuries, such as severe fractures that damage growth plates


Surgical treatments vary in complexity. Sometimes the goal of surgery is to stop the growth of the longer limb. Other times, surgeons work to lengthen the shorter limb.

  • Bone Shortening: An operation to remove a section of bone, evening out the limbs in teens or adults who are no longer growing
  • Epiphyseal stapling: An operation to slow the rate of growth of the longer limb by inserting staples into the growth plate, then removing them when the desired result is achieved
  • Epiphysiodesis: An operation to slow the rate of growth of the longer limb by creating a permanent bony ridge near the growth plate.
  • Limb lengthening: A procedure (also called distraction osteogenesis or the Ilizarov procedure) that involves attaching an internal or external fixator to a limb and gradually pulling apart bone segments to grow new bone between them.

Dr. Ashish Ranade is expert at planning treatments that meet each patient’s needs and goals.