NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — 70% of Americans have a leg length difference that isn’t significant, according to Yale Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon David Frumberg. He says for others the difference can be painful.
“You can get hip arthritis, your pelvis is not quite level, your spine can feel the brunt of that,” he said.
He is able to make one leg longer, using external and internal technology. Internal involves equipment implanted in the leg, activated by an external device.
The device separates a tiny bit of bone every day without the patient even noticing. Legs can be lengthened as much as three inches in a few months.
“The lengthening itself is typically, not painful so aside from some stiffness and some rehab they just kind of go around about their own life,” Dr. Frumberg said.
Patients often seek limb lengthening due to many medical conditions that have left them with an arm or a leg that is shorter than the other.
Dr. Frumberg has treated teenage athletes who were born with one leg shorter which resulted in the student seeing better athletic results.
He occasionally gets requests from people just seeking height in both legs. In those cases, Dr. Frumberg says he carefully takes factors into consideration including the person’s social, psychological and physical condition.
The doctor had one patient who was 65 and had one leg shorter from having polio as a child. The patient was tired of wearing a shoe with a lift his entire life and desired to wear sandals at the beach.
“He had a femur lengthening [that] did great and he’s very thankful for it,” Dr. Frumberg said.