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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is Perthes' disease?
Perthes' disease occurs in children when blood supply to the top of the thighbone (femur) is disrupted, leading to pain and damage in the hip joint.
What are the symptoms of Perthes' disease?
Symptoms of Perthes' disease develop gradually. They include a limp on the affected leg and pain that may appear to be coming from the hip, groin, knee or thigh.
What causes Perthes' disease?
It is not known what causes the disruption to the blood supply of the top of the thighbone (femur) that leads to Perthes' disease.
How is Perthes' disease diagnosed?
Perthes' disease is diagnosed by a physical examination and the use of X-rays, ultrasounds and other scans to detect damage to the top of the femur bone.
How is Perthes' disease treated?
As Perthes' disease generally goes away by itself over a number of years, treatment is aimed at keeping the child comfortable and mobile as well as minimizing damage to the top of the thighbone (femur). Pain-relief medication, rest and the use of splints, …
Will Perthes' disease clear on its own?
Perthes' disease does slowly resolve over a number of years; however, during this time the top of the thighbone (femur) is prone to damage. As it regenerates, the bone can regrow abnormally, causing problems with the hip joint.
What can be done at home to treat Perthes' disease?
While a child is recovering from Perthes' disease they may need bed rest and special care to protect their thighbone (femur) from further damage. Parents and carers play a vital role in a child's home care and recovery.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 10 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 870 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Perthes disease