Leg Length

Leg Length Alignment Asymmetry In A Non-clinical Population And Its Correlation To A Decrease In General Health As Measured By The SF-12: A Pilot Study

Purpose:
To determine if there is an association between a test commonly used by chiropractors as a sign of subluxation/joint dysfunction – supine leg length alignment (LLA) asymmetry – and health-related quality of life as measured by the SF-12 questionnaire, in a non-clinical population.

Design:
Volunteers answered the SF-12 and background questionnaires and were then examined for supine LLA by a chiropractor blinded to their answers.

Setting:
Gatherings of people in the general population.

Participants:
Fifty-five unscreened volunteers.

Examiner:
Chiropractor with approximately 20 years of clinical experience.

Main Outcome Measures:
The association of supine LLA asymmetry with general health based on the two summary scores – physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) – of the SF-12.

Results:
There were 27 volunteers with LLA asymmetry, they had a mean PCS of 49.6 and a mean MCS of 47.9. In the no – LLA asymmetry group (n=23) the mean PCS was 50.8, and mean MCS of 54.0. A multiple regression analysis found that of the variables gender, age, back pain (current/former) and LLA asymmetry, the only factor to approach significance with the SF-12 MCS/PCS was the presence of LLA asymmetry. A t-test found there was a significant difference (p=0.017) in the MCS between the supine LLA asymmetry and no-LLA asymmetry groups.

Conclusion:
This pilot study suggests that in this group of volunteers (n=50) from the non-clinical general population, those who demonstrated a commonly used sign of subluxation/joint dysfunction – supine leg length alignment asymmetry – had a significantly (P=0.017) lower measure of general health as determined by the SF-12 survey than those volunteers without such asymmetry. Further investigation to clarify this relationship and to establish whether there is a connection between the putative entity of chiropractic subluxation and unloaded leg length alignment asymmetry is recommended.

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