Will knee or hip replacement surgery change the length of my leg?

Charles E. Stewart, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Lengthening the leg is possible during a hip replacement surgery. Charles Stewart, MD explains this and the delicacies involved in this video.
Mohit Bansal, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Mohit Bansal, MD from Largo Medical Center discusses the possibility of the leg lengthening after knee or hip replacement surgery. Watch this video to learn more.
Jeffrey Silverstein, MD discusses the changes in the length of the leg after knee or hip replacement surgery and how the problem is eradicated in this video.
One of the risks of hip replacement surgery is leg length discrepancy (differences in the lengths of your legs). This can happen when the bone that was removed during surgery is replaced with either a larger or smaller amount of metal in the implant. Usually the differences in leg lengths are unperceivable; sometimes, though, the surgeon must lengthen or shorten the leg to prevent dislocation, for stability reasons. If the leg length discrepancy is noticeable, a shoe lift may be required.
David V. Cashen, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Learn about the changes in length one may experience after hip or knee replacement surgeries. Watch this video with David Cashen, MD from Blake Medical Center.
In general, knee replacement surgery will not significantly change the length of your leg unless you have a large deformity that must be corrected. During hip replacement surgery, however, it is easy to change the length of the leg. Your surgeon should know how you feel about your leg length before surgery. A variety of techniques can be used to help reduce the risk.
Steven B. Warren, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The knee cannot be lengthened during a knee replacement, but the hip can be, says Steven Warren, MD, specializing in orthopedic surgery at Palms of Pasadena Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Brent W. D'arc, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Knee or hip replacement surgery will not significantly change the length of your leg. In this video, Brent d'Arc, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Riverside Community Hospital, describes how small changes in leg length can be addressed.
Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
A difference in leg length occurs only rarely after knee replacement, usually after straightening of a severe bowed leg, but occurs frequently, at least temporarily, after hip replacement. Before surgery, one leg is often shorter than the other—or feels shorter because the joint has deteriorated. Your orthopedic surgeon chooses an implant and plans surgery so that your legs will be equal in length after healing. After hip replacement, muscle weakness or spasm and swelling around the hip may temporarily cause an abnormal tilt to your pelvis and make you feel as though your legs are unequal in length. Stretching and strengthening exercises help restore your pelvis to its proper position. It may be several months before you can tell if the discrepancy is real and needs to be addressed with the use of a lift in the shoe. When the discrepancy is accompanied by pain, surgery can correct both problems.

Continue Learning about Bone & Joint Injuries

Bone & Joint Injuries

Bone & Joint Injuries

Often caused by falls, trauma, or injury, bone and joint injuries can sometimes be serious enough to require surgery. A broken bone can occasionally puncture your skin, causing intense pain. If you suspect that you have a broken b...

one, you will need medical treatment right away. In serious cases, pins, screws, and plates are placed into the body to stabilize the bone and help it heal. Joints connect our bones, and joint injuries can often occur in the elbows and knees. To reduce your risk of joint injury, stay healthy. Staying at a healthy weight and keeping your muscles strong and fit reduces the wear and tear on your joints.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.