Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (or Perthes disease) is a rare hip condition that affects children.
LEG CAL-vay PERTH-eez
Over a number of years, the ball-shaped top of a child’s thighbone (femoral head) breaks down and re-forms. The disease goes through 4 phases:
Children with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease have:
These symptoms may seem like other health problems of the hip. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s healthcare provider will do a complete health history and physical exam of your child. Your child may also need:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment is to keep the roundness of the femoral head and to prevent deformity while the condition runs its course. Treatment depends on the amount of hip pain and stiffness. It’s also based on X-ray changes over time and how much the femoral head has collapsed.
The first step of treatment is usually to regain hip motion. It also tries to stop the pain that results from the tight muscles around the hip and the inflammation inside the joint. Treatment may include:
The more severe the case, the greater the likelihood that your child may have limited hip motion, differences in leg lengths, and other hip problems in adulthood.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider: