Perthes disease: cause, symptoms, treatment

Perthes disease involves the slow breakdown of bone, after which new bone is created, this concerns the head of the femur. It mainly occurs in children between the ages of four and eight. Five times more often in boys than in girls. What causes, what are the symptoms and how is Perthes disease treated? Is it always about two hips?

Article content

  • Thigh bone
  • Perthes disease/Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease
  • Perthes disease
  • Causes of Perthes disease
  • Symptoms of Perthes disease
  • Diagnosis of Perthes disease
  • Treatment of Perthes disease
  • Prognosis of Perthes disease

Thigh bone

Femur, also called femur, is the bone in the upper leg . The femur is the largest bone in the body. The femoral head, together with the socket in the pelvis, forms the hip joint. The bumps (also called condyles) at the bottom are part of the knee joint. The hip and thigh muscles are attached to the greater trochanter (greater trochanter) and the lesser trochanter (trochanter minor).

Perthes disease/Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease

Perthes disease is another name for Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. The disease is named after three orthopedic surgeons who discovered the disease in 1910, almost at the same time. These are Arthur Legg (1874-1939) from the United States, Jacques Calvé (1875-1954) from France and Georg Clemens Perthes (1869-1927) from Germany. Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (abbreviated: LCP) is a disease of the hip joint that occurs

in both children and dogs .

Perthes disease

The head of the femur softens due to bone breakdown and is gradually replaced by new bone over a period of one and a half to two years. Perthes disease mainly occurs in boys between the ages of four and eight . Perthes disease almost never occurs in older children, but is more severe. The disease occurs in approximately one in two thousand children. One in ten of these children will develop the disease in both hips.

Causes of Perthes disease

It is suspected that this is a temporary interruption of the blood supply in the areas concerned. But the exact cause of this interruption of the blood supply is not known. Heredity and lifestyle are not significant factors.

Symptoms of Perthes disease

Go to the doctor if a child has the following complaints:

  • A painful feeling in the hip;
  • The hip can only be moved moderately;
  • Pain in the groin area;
  • Pain in the thigh;
  • Sometimes pain in the knee;
  • The child often limps and this becomes increasingly worse;
  • Forced movements can cause pain and cramps;
  • Over time, the affected leg may be shorter than the other leg.

Diagnosis of Perthes disease

The doctor or GP will examine the child. X-rays will probably be taken of the hips. However, these may appear normal in the early stages of the disease. Other tests may be necessary for a proper diagnosis: an MRI scan or isotope scan

Treatment of Perthes disease

If a child has pain complaints, it is wise not to put too much strain on the hip. Irritation of the hip joint should be reduced. If there is a lot of pain, it may be advisable to keep the child at home quietly for a few days, possibly in combination with painkillers. Important: maintaining the mobility of the joint, maintaining the spherical shape of the joint and relieving pain . There are two schools of thought regarding the treatment of Perthes disease: there are orthopedic surgeons who consider the body’s natural recovery mechanism important and do not quickly opt for surgery, but there are also orthopedic surgeons who expect better results from surgical intervention and advise this more often. . As a parent or caregiver, this makes it difficult to choose, so in any case, be well informed.

Prognosis of Perthes disease

A child can suffer from Perthes disease for a long time, it lasts between one and five years. The chance of complete recovery from Perthes disease is generally greater if the child is younger than eight years old. About three in ten people who have had Perthes disease later develop osteoarthritis.