Hip Replacement Surgery and a Heel Lift

heel liftI am no big fan of orthotics and/or a heel lift. From my perspective they imprint a body’s imbalance and report to the brain that this is the new you. Which isn’t to suggest that no one needs to undertake such measures, some few people do,  but not nearly as many as are currently wearing some sort of shoe insert.

The most common reason why someone would need to wear some sort of heel lift is due to a surgery that altered the length of the leg for one reason or another. Beyond that most leg length discrepancy is due to muscular imbalances that affect the bones and can be changed.

My sister recently had her hip replaced. Bizarrely, even though the left hip was shorter and the one that was replaced, post-surgery the right leg is now shorter. By about two inches!  I don’t really understand why this is and I couldn’t find anything on line that talked about this type of thing happening while doing some research on the internets.

After the surgery the doctor told my sister that the two legs would adjust and end up being fractionally different. But then, the first physical therapist my sister saw suggested that she was going to need a heel lift going forward which reasonably upset my sister.

Upon returning to the doctor he implored her to resist any temptation to put in a heel lift because if she simply allows the healing to occur post-surgery, the legs would eventually find their way towards a relative balance. Putting a heel lift would interrupt this process and essentially tell the brain and body that the work is done and this is who I am now.

Most people who undergo surgery aren’t all that aware of what their bodies are capable of, or how they heal, and tend to take the words of doctors and PT’s to heart. If my sister didn’t have me whispering in her ear about these things, I wonder whose word she would follow, the surgeon who says no heel lift or the PT who suggest that a heel lift will be necessary for the rest of her life. Very interesting stuff.

I don’t encourage people to simply throw away their heel lift and orthotics immediately. It needs to be a gradual process where you end up not needing them anymore. But it can be an interesting and worthwhile process.


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