You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

12

5

▲  8th Inning 0 outs

Health Answers

What do I do about uneven legs?

Q. After my hip replacement, my legs feel uneven. What do I do?

A. During hip replacement surgery, your surgeon replaces the ball-and-socket of the hip joint with artificial components. Stephen Murphy, an orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital, explains that surgeons consider several factors when choosing and aligning the parts of an artificial hip: existing leg lengths, condition of the joint, tension of the surrounding soft tissues, flexibility of the spine, and alignment of the whole body. “You have a lot of choices,” he says, and a surgeon may position the socket or thigh component differently to achieve the best result. But there are limits to what surgeons can do, and sometimes joint stability takes priority over other factors.

Continue reading below

Minor leg length discrepancies are a fairly common complaint after hip replacement surgery. “Sometimes people think there’s a discrepancy when there’s not,” Murphy says. Many times, the operative leg was shorter to begin with because the joint had deteriorated, and it feels longer when evened out. In other cases, after the joint is replaced, the leg springs out to the side temporarily, making it feel longer than it actually is for several weeks.

A change in leg lengths, whether perceived or measurable, often lessens over time as you exercise, stretch, and acclimate to the new joint. If the discrepancy is noticeable, using a shoe lift for the shorter leg can help. If it causes pain or difficulty walking or balancing, a revision surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.

Have a question? E-mail globeanswers@gmail.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.