Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, also called Perthes disease, is a problem with the hip joint in children. It usually happens to children between the ages of 4 and 10 and is more common in boys than girls. It usually happens in just one hip.
This problem happens when the round end of the thighbone temporarily loses blood flow. The end of the bone may become flat or deformed. It may no longer fit properly in the hip socket. The thighbone may become shorter than the other thighbone. Doctors don’t know why the blood stops flowing to this area or what causes blood flow to start up again.
The symptoms often start with an ache in the hip or groin area. The pain can also be in the thigh or knee. It usually goes away when your child is resting. Your child may have some stiffness and may limp.
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Tests may include:
Treatment depends on how early the disease is found and how severe it is. The goals of treatment are to:
Your healthcare provider will need to see your child often to see if the top of the thighbone is getting more blood and growing again.
After 18 to 36 months, blood flow to the top of the thighbone usually improves and often returns to normal. Younger children generally have a better chance of full recovery.
Avoid high-impact activities like jumping or running while the hip heals. Try to find other activities your child can do. For example, swimming and gentle cycling are OK.
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when you should bring your child back for a checkup.