Induced leg length inequality affects pelvis orientation during upright standing immediately following a sit-to-stand transfer: a pre-post measurement study

Simon P. Vella*, Michael Swain, Aron Downie, Samuel J. Howarth, Martha Funabashi, Roger M. Engel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Leg length inequality (LLI) greater than 20 mm has been associated with low back pain (LBP) and its correction is clinically recommended. Much less is known about the biomechanical effects that LLI below 15 mm has on pelvis orientation.

Methods: Twenty-two adult participants (8 female) aged between 18 and 30 years without LBP were enrolled in the study and completed a series of sit-to-stand trials with no heel-lift (0 mm baseline) and heel-lifts of varying heights (5, 9 and 12 mm) placed in their right shoe. Three-dimensional kinematic data were obtained from the lower extremities, pelvis and thorax. Additional kinematic data were obtained from the left and right sides of the pelvis. The global orientation of the whole pelvis and relative orientation between the left and right sides of the pelvis were obtained in upright standing immediately upon completion of the sit-to-stand movement. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to detect differences in sample means across the different levels of heel-lift (0, 5, 9, and 12 mm). The tests for within-subject effects determined overall significant differences between the means at the different levels of heel-lift induced LLI. Partial Eta-Squared was used to express the size for the main effect of heel-lift height. For each level of heel-lift, the estimated marginal mean and 95% confidence interval (95%CI) values of pelvis angles were illustrated graphically.

Results: Left frontal plane rotation of the pelvis increased (p = 0.001), that is, the left side of the pelvis was lower than the right side of the pelvis, and anterior tilt of the pelvis decreased (p = 0.020) with a heel-lift height (applied on the right) as low as 5 mm. A significant main effect of heel-lift was only observed for the norm of rotations about all three axes for relative-pelvis orientation (p = 0.034). Post-hoc analyses did not reveal any statistically significant differences between the heel-lifts and the 0 mm baseline (p≥0.072).

Conclusion: These findings suggest that correcting leg length inequality below the recommended threshold of 20 mm may influence pelvic orientation. Future work can investigate the effects of the altered orientations on spine loading and the clinical effects of corrections to minor leg length inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number203
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Functional movement
  • Leg length inequality
  • Low back pain
  • Pelvis orientation
  • Pelvis torsion
  • Sit-to-stand


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