Perthes Disease, also known as Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, belongs to a group of disorders called the Osteochondroses. These disorders affect the epiphyses (growing part of the hip) during childhood and Perthes Disease is by far the most common of the Osteochondroses.

 

  • Perthes Disease usually occurs between the ages of 5-10 years
  • It is more common in boys than in girls
  • The cause is not known, some or all of the cells in the femoral epiphysis die and this causes pain in the hip joint that interferes with walking.
  • The disease usually starts gradually and progresses slowly.
  • Joint movements are limited and thigh muscles become wasted.

How the disease progresses:

 

Untreated:

  • If left untreated the disease usually follows a prolonged but self-limited course taking about 2-3 years.
  • When the condition eventually settles, the residual damage to the femoral head predisposes to secondary degenerative arthritis.

Treated:

  • Orthopaedic treatment involves prolonged bed rest, mobile traction, slings and containment of femoral head with plaster casts and splints.
  • The long-term effects of Perthes Disease are less severe if the disease is treated.

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