The fastest man ever, Usain Bolt, world record holder of the 100 and 200 meter sprints suffers from Scoliosis. This is a condition which causes curvature to the spine. The curvature in his spine has caused his right leg to be slightly shorter than the left leg.

I've also read about other sprinters with lower reputation who also had Scoliosis. For example a Canadian national sprinter used to run third in 4x100 relays to "take advantage" of his uneven leg lengths in the curve.

Is there any links between Scoliosis and leg length differential and sprinting performance? Has there been a study on this?


1 Answer 1


I will say no. I will respond from a medical rather than a sports perspective. Scoliosis is complex. It is often not just one spinal degree of curvature. It is a 3D graph of other curves; Kyphosis and Lordosis describe curves in other directions. So you have three possible curves with each having a possible angle of curve. For instance I have some scoliosis. But also some kyphosis. I don't notice any difference with my leg lengths. But if I lie down I am far more comfortable facing one direction than the other on a bed.

So in short I can't see any simple connection of curve to leg length differences. So my short answer would be No, there is no advantage.

  • The fact that it's complicated doesn't mean there can be no link, and you have shown nothing to suggest a link is not evidenced, let alone not possible.
    – Nij
    Jun 29, 2019 at 23:42
  • You have missed my point. I was saying that because there are different curves of the spine in three dimensions it won't always lead to one outcome such as legs being of different length. Jun 29, 2019 at 23:51
  • "Not always" is itself missing the point of what a relationship is. The question doesn't ask about whether it's simple or not, it asks whether there is a connection and whether any studies exist. You haven't answered either of those queries.
    – Nij
    Jun 30, 2019 at 1:22
  • It does ask about whether there's a link between scoliosis and leg length: Is there any links between Scoliosis and leg length differential and sprinting performance? So I said that I was sticking to the medical aspect of that question. Jun 30, 2019 at 1:44

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