April 14, 2011

Symptoms & Treatment for Legg Calve Perthes Disease in Children

Posted in Category : Child Health

Owing to the rarity of the condition, one would often question what is legg calve perthes disease? Legg calve perthes disease can be described as a childhood disease, which is associated with the lack of adequate supply of blood to certain parts of the hip joints. Because of the inadequate supply of blood to the bone, it becomes unstable and can break easily. Moreover, since the bone does not receive adequate blood supply, it does not heal properly. Legg calve perthes disease in children generally affects only one hip, but at times, it could be seen in both. Although this condition can be seen in children of all ages, it is a lot more common in those aged between 2 and 12. Younger children affected by the disease tend to fare better, since there is more time to reshape the hipbones. Legg calve perthes disease in children also tends to affect boys more than girls.


There are certain signs and symptoms that generally accompany legg calve perthes disease in children. Given below, as some of the most common legg calve perthes disease symptoms in children:

  • Pain and stiffness in the hip, thigh, groin and knee
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Limping
  • The leg may seem shortened on the affected side

Hence, these symptoms should not be ignored or left unchecked. It is important for parents to have a doctor examine the child, as soon as any of the symptoms mentioned above become evident.


Most cases of legg calve perthes disease in children need to be dealt with, by a pediatric orthopedic specialist. The treatment of this condition is mainly designed to prevent any further stress and injury from affecting the hip joint. At the same time, the treatment also usually ensures that the femur, that is the ball of the thighbone remains in the hip socket. Depending on the severity of the condition, the legg calve perthes disease treatment in children could include:

  • The use of anti-inflammatory medication, which generally includes over the counter medicines. This also helps address the inflammation in the hip joints, if used for a longer period of time. The dosage depends entirely on how severe the problem is.
  • Improving the range of motion, with the help of legg calve perthes disease physical therapy and exercises, which can help in maintaining the mobility of the joints. While these exercises can be done at home, it is important to consult a physical therapist, at least in the beginning
  • Crutches are very useful in easing the pain and allowing the child to keep his or her weight off of the hip, thereby facilitating faster recovery
  • In order to promote faster healing, some health care providers immobilize the bone temporarily. The equipment that is generally used for this purpose could include leg casts, hip casts, traction or even leg braces.
  • If the muscle in the groin has become shorter because of excessive limping, a doctor may need to perform a surgery, to release it from the bone. After the surgery is completed, the leg that has been affected will need to be put in a cast for around 6 to 8 weeks, or so. During this course of time, the muscle grows to a more normal length. In some cases, the hip ball could also be replaced within the hip socket, with the help of these surgical procedures. At times, the hip socket could also be repositioned.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent legg calve perthes disease in children. However, with the right treatment and continual monitoring, most children can recover from this problem and go back to performing their normal activities within the period of a year and a half, to two years.