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Conditions / Hips / Children

Perthes Disease

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Perthes disease is a paediatric hip condition commonly affecting boys aged 4-8yrs of age. The hip is a ball and socket joint.

The ball being the top end of the thigh bone (femur bone). Perthes is a condition whereby the blood supply to the ball part of the bone is cut off. This results in inflammation, pain and stiffness of the hip joint. Also the ball commonly grows out of shape.

Doctors do not truly understand what causes this condition, however a few theories have been proposed. As a result of this there is no consensus on what is the best treatment for this condition. However the aim of treatment is to maintain a pain free joint, with good movement and function. Close monitoring and treatment is aimed at minimising deformation of the ball and socket as the child continues to grow with this condition present. The good news is that this condition burns out by itself (self limiting) and usually runs its course by 2 years.

There is varying degrees of severity of this condition and hence varying treatments. Treatment ranges from simple rest/crutches and anti-inflammatory medication to physiotherapy, braces and sometimes surgery.