Can chiropractic treatment cause a short leg?

I was breaking up ice in my drive way and shoveling it when I forgot and twisted my back, I did a little more and stopped went in the house and sat down; when I got up my back would spasm this was the first time that I have ever felt a spasm. I went to one chiropractor and she said it was a sprain however she did in all give me four treatments which with ice still did not stop the spasms so my father sent me to his chiropractor; he too gave me four treatments and my back did get better.

He told me to walk every day for the sake of my back which I did but I did notice that I was now having problems with my right great toe and the ball of my foot felt like it was tearing and causing an internal wound; I then got fluid buildup in the ball and first two toes these problems kept getting worse.

I went to a doctor she did x rays and said it was psoriatic arthritis, she sent me to a podiatrist to have orthotic shoes made; this doctor examined me and said we do not make orthotic shoes any more but orthotics but you actually need a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist said it really doesn't look like psoriatic arthritis I am sending you back to podiatry which he gave me Spenco orthotics which did nothing for the terrible nerve pain and inflammation.

I had been put on Viox, methotrexate, prednisone, ultum, dicoflanac, codein and tylonal. I had to quit my retail job as no one was stopping the pain. I had to be off my foot.

When I moved back home I had a new family doctor who was a trained orthopedist he measured my legs and said my right leg is a quarter inch shorter than the left; I said isn't that how it is for every one he said no it wasn't but in my case it may be why the arthritis pain is on the right side. I said how did I get a short leg I have always worked on my feet and have never had such terrible pain as I am having now. All I could think of was it must have happened after eight chiropractic treatments by two different doctors on the right side only.

Can too many treatments on one side of you lower back and hips give someone a short leg and cause so many painful bone changes as well?

Hello Vickie,
Gosh, you have been through the mill.

The answer to your main question is an emphatic no; chiropractic treatment, nor any other treatment can cause an anatomical short leg. Subluxations in the pelvis can cause an apparent short leg, but that's something quite different, and not what an orthotic would be prescribed for.

It seems you have two quite independent conditions; a sprain of some sort in your lower back that the second chiropractor fixed. And an arthritic toe that unfortunately was aggravated by the advice to walk; perhaps you had bad shoes, I don't know, and you probably don't either.

Neither the sprain in your back, nor the treatment, whether one sided or not, would have caused that arthritic toe, or the short leg.

An orthotic, or even a simple heel wedge might well help your back overall; but beware. In some people, the insert in your shoe may help to balance the pelvis but increase the curvature in your spine. An experienced chiropractor, orthopedist can advise you.

Meantime, keep doing some of the lower back exercises you'll find at Chiropractic Help. A limp from a sore foot can set your back off again. Hope there are no more big snow storms this winter.

Never take more than one of those anti inflammatory drugs / analgesics at a time; very hard on your kidneys.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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