Ask Deb: My Right Leg Is Longer Than My Left Leg

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My right leg is longer than my left leg, and I want to know what I should do in ballet class to avoid exacerbating the hip soreness I feel after class because of it.

There are some common patterns with uneven leg lengths. Generally, dancers like to stand in fifth position with the long leg in back. This is because when the shorter leg is behind, the front knee will want to bend to square off the hips. It's also very common in everyday standing to shift and stand on the shorter leg and bend the knee of the longer leg. I see most leg-length challenges happening at the barre, when you can use your hand to try to force a square pelvis and evenly balance between the two legs.

Putting a heel lift under the shorter leg will not only help dancers work more symmetrically, but it will help spinal curves straighten, help shoulders become even and allow dancers to feel like they are standing evenly on both feet.

If you have a known leg-length problem, I would encourage you to seek some advice from a physician or physical therapist to see if putting a lift in your soft slipper and street shoes would be useful. They will evaluate your skeletal alignment with and without the lift and determine if a correction is needed. I suspect your chronically sore hip muscles would feel better, too.

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

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