Leg won’t straighten after knee replacement

After knee replacement surgery, it is common for the leg to become bent at a different angle than the leg bent when you were younger.

Legs that are bent at a different angle than the other leg are called leg-length discrepancies.

Leg length discrepancies do not usually cause problems.

However, if the discrepancy is severe, it can cause problems.

Leg length discrepancies may occur due to the following:

  • The leg-length discrepancy is due to the knee replacement surgery.
  • A thigh-length discrepancy is a different length of bone than the knee joint.
  • A leg-length discrepancy is present at the time of surgery.
  • The leg-length discrepancy is present at the time of surgery and does not improve.

Symptoms of leg length discrepancy

Symptoms of a leg length discrepancy may include:

  • The back of the knee is lower than the front of the knee.
  • The knee is bent at a different angle than the knee when you were younger.
  • The knee is bent at an angle that is too high.
  • There is swelling or pain in the knee.
  • The knee bends in the wrong direction.
  • The thigh is longer than the knee.
  • There is a leg-length discrepancy.

Treatment for leg length discrepancy

In most cases, leg length differences do not require treatment.

However, if the leg length discrepancy is severe, surgery may be required.

Surgery may include:

  • Uncemented total knee replacement.
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.
  • Reconstruction of the medial collateral ligament (MCL).
  • Reconstruction of the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

In some cases, the knee may have to be taken out of the socket.

If the leg length discrepancy is severe, it may require a total knee replacement.

What is a leg-length difference?

A leg-length difference is the difference in the leg length of the leg with the knee replaced and the leg length of the leg without the knee replaced.

The leg-length difference is usually less than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters).

Leg-length discrepancy vs. leg-length inequality

Leg-length difference and leg-length inequality are often used interchangeably.

However, leg-length inequality is a measurement of the difference in leg length between the legs.

Leg-length difference is the difference in leg length between the leg with the knee replaced and the leg without the knee replaced.

Leg-length inequality is the difference in leg length between two legs.

What causes leg length discrepancy?

The cause of a leg-length discrepancy can be due to the following:

  • The leg-length discrepancy is due to the knee replacement surgery
  • A leg-length discrepancy is present at the time of surgery and does not improve.

How is a leg-length discrepancy diagnosed?

A leg-length discrepancy can be diagnosed with an X-ray.

However, if the leg length discrepancy is severe, an MRI scan may be required.

For an MRI scan, a doctor uses a magnet and radio waves to produce a detailed image of the bones in the body.

How is a leg-length discrepancy treated?

In most cases, leg length discrepancies do not require treatment.

However, if the leg length discrepancy is severe, surgery may be required to correct it.

Surgery may include:

  • Uncemented total knee replacement
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
  • Reconstruction of the medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • Reconstruction of the lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

When to call your doctor?

If you have a leg-length discrepancy and are unable to walk without pain, you may want to contact your doctor.

The earlier a leg-length discrepancy is corrected, the better.

Also, if your leg-length discrepancy is not improving, the condition may be more serious.

What is the outlook for people with leg length discrepancy?

The long-term outlook for people with leg length discrepancies can vary.

If the leg-length discrepancy is corrected, the leg length discrepancy should improve.

However, leg length discrepancies are often corrected within a few weeks.

The most common cause of leg length discrepancy is the knee replacement surgery.

If you have a leg-length discrepancy and are using a walker, walker can help you get around.

However, you may need a wheelchair if you have a leg length discrepancy and cannot walk without pain.

Complications of leg length discrepancy

If the leg length discrepancy is severe, it may cause problems.

It is important to treat the leg length discrepancy so that it does not get worse.

The most common complications of leg length discrepancies are:

  • Wound healing problems.
  • Nerve or joint issues.
  • Scoliosis.

Scoliosis is an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine.

The main treatment for scoliosis is surgery.

How can leg length discrepancy be prevented?

The best way to avoid leg length discrepancies is to undergo a regular physical examination.

If there is a leg-length discrepancy, the doctor will check to see if the leg is shorter than the other leg.

They may also check to see if the knee is bent at the wrong angle.

If you have a leg length discrepancy, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice for treatment.

They may advise you to wear a brace or help you to walk without a walker.

Take a look at our guide to common knee problems.

You can also learn more about the causes and symptoms of leg length discrepancies.

Take a look here at the symptoms of a leg length discrepancy.

Are there any other symptoms?

You may experience other symptoms if you have leg length discrepancies.

These may include:

  • Back pain.
  • Joint pain.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Muscle weakness.

These symptoms can be due to other conditions.

Take a look here at some common symptoms of knee problems.

Who can help treat leg length discrepancy?

The best person to treat a leg length discrepancy is an orthopedic surgeon.

The doctor who treats most leg length discrepancies is a surgeon called an orthopedic surgeon.

The doctor will have experience in treating leg length discrepancies.

Outlook

With treatment, a leg length discrepancy will usually improve.

The outcome is dependent on the severity of the leg length difference and the type of treatment chosen.

The best outcome is to have the leg length difference corrected during the surgical procedure.

However, some leg length discrepancies may require surgery.

If you have any leg length discrepancy, you should see an orthopedic surgeon.

They will take into account your age, medical history, and the severity of the problem.

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