What is Legg-Calves-Perthes Disease?

Legg-Calves-Perthes disease is a condition that often begins in childhood. It occurs when part of the hip joint does not receive an adequate amount of blood supply. When this happens, bone cells begin to die, and the joint deteriorates. As a result, a person may experience pain and gait problems. It can also increase the risk of a person developing osteoarthritis later in life. Legg-Calves-Perthes disease is also known as idiopathic osteonecrosis, ischemic necrosis of the hip, coxa plana, osteochondritis, or avascular necrosis of the femoral head. It is estimated that about one in every 1,200 children have Legg-Calves-Perthes disease.

Legg-Calves-Perthes disease

Unfortauntely, there is no way to prevent Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. However, there are treatment options available that can protect the affected hipbone which will allow it to grow as it should. It is important for Legg-Calve-Perthes disease to be diagnosed early on in life and be treated in order to have the best prognosis. It usually takes about two years for children to be able to begin living a normal life after being diagnosed with this condition.

The signs and symptoms of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease may include limping, pain or stiffness in the hip, groin, thigh or knee, and a limited range of motion of the hip joint. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease usually involves just one hip. However, in children, it may be common for both hips to be affected and usually at different times.

There are a number of risk factors that may increase your risk for developing Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. The risk factors that may increase your risk for developing Legg-Calve-Perthes disease include:

·         Age. While Legg-Calve-Perthes disease can affect children of just about any age, it is most common among children between the ages of four and eight.

·         Sex. Legg-Calve-Perthes is up to five times more common in boys than in girls.

·         Race. Caucasian children are more likely to develop Legg-Calve-Perthes disease compared to African-American children.

·         Family history. In a small number of cases, Legg-Calve-Perthes appears to run in families.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Legg-Calves-Perthes disease. However, there are treatments available that can relieve symptoms and protect the hip from further injury. The treatment options available for Legg-Calves-Perthes disease that your doctor will most likely recommend include anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, physical therapy to keep the joint flexible and preserve range of motion, using crutches to keep weight off the affected hip, immobilizing the joint by putting it in a cast, brace, or traction to allow the bone to heal, or surgery to reposition the affected muscles and place the ball in the hip socket more securely.