The effect of leg length differences on early clinical outcome after total hip arthroplasty remains uncertain. We performed a prospective study on 94 patients who were evaluated preoperatively and one year after surgery for clinical leg length differences, which were then compared with radiological measurements. The effect of leg length differences on walking ability, limp, pain and patient satisfaction was studied. The mean clinical leg length difference after operation was 0.05 cm (-1.5 to 1.5, SD 0.5). Clinical and radiological measurements correlated poorly (ω =0.36 pre- and ω =0.186 postoperatively). Patients with a shorter operated leg on clinical assessment were more prone to limping (p<0.05), and patients with a longer leg had more pain compared to patients with equal leg lengths (p<0.05). Walking ability, Harris Hip Score and patient satisfaction were only marginally affected by leg length differences. Virtually equal leg length was achieved for most patients but small differences had a negative influence in relation to limping and pain. Patients should be counselled pre-operatively about possible leg length differences and associated symptoms.