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Perthes Disease

Perthes disease is a rare childhood hip disorder which affects children from the age group of four to ten years. The disease affects a child’s hip when blood supply is interrupted to the head of the femur (thigh bone) temporarily. Because of lack of blood supply to head the cells gradually start dying and results in deformed head. Over the period of time cells start regenerating and end with deformed head. Early diagnosis and timely intervention gives better results.


Exact cause of Perthes disease is still not known (Idiopathic). Perthes disease is a complex childhood hip disorder caused due to inadequate blood supply to the femoral head of hip joint.


Painful restriction of movements with limp is commonly seen in Perthes disease. Pain may be in groin, hip, knee and thigh area. Limb length shortening with muscle wasting also present.


Clinical examination is very important in diagnosing the disease. Orthopaedic surgeon examine child’s hip, knee joints thoroughly to see movements and muscle wasting and limb shortening. Also, initial physical examination results are confirmed through an X-ray and MRI.


Containment of head (ball) of femur (thigh bone) in its socket is prime motive of the treatment. The perthes disease is treated in a number of ways according to the child’s age and severity. Treatment starts conservatively with analgesics, rest and physiotherapy. Child can walk with help of special braces/cruches. Strenuous physical activities should be avoided. Surgery treatment is needed in some cases for containment of head of femur in its socket.


Early diagnosis and timely intervention gives better result. So any child during early age group with pain in and around hip and knee should be examined thoroughly by expert pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Normally, the younger children respond to the treatment more effectively without developing any hip joint disorder in the future. But if the child is more than 8 years of age, there are always chances that he may experience stiffness, arthritis, and similar hip joint problems in future.

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