Differential Diagnosis of Limb Length Discrepancy in a 19th Century Burial from Southwest Mississippi
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 517–530, July/August 2014
How to Cite
Thompson, A. R. (2014), Differential Diagnosis of Limb Length Discrepancy in a 19th Century Burial from Southwest Mississippi. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 24: 517–530. doi: 10.1002/oa.2238
- Issue published online: 5 AUG 2014
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 1 MAR 2012 10:04PM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 30 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Received: 19 JUN 2011
- limb shortening;
This paper reports on a 19th century skeleton from southwest Mississippi that displays shortening of several right side bones. Most notable is a 50-mm discrepancy in leg length involving the tibiae and fibulae. Osseous changes in the right foot suggest limited muscle function was present in this area. However, the shortened tibia and fibula show no signs of atrophy. After considering both osteological features and burial context, it is concluded that the individual was likely exposed to the poliovirus during childhood. While this diagnosis does not conform to the skeletal expectations of polio based on most paleopathological descriptions, the deformities observed fit within the range of what has been reported clinically. Based on this finding, it is suggested that polio should be considered as an etiological source of limb shortening even when signs of diffuse skeletal atrophy are lacking. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.