The right treatment and surgery for your child’s Legg-Calve-Perthes disease depends on a number of factors, such as your child’s age, present health, health history, the extent of the disease and their history with various other medications and treatments. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which is an uncommon disease that affects the bones in the hip and upper femur (thighbone), affects approximately 1 out of every 1,200 children each year.
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Diagnosis
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease can have significant effects on quality of life and ability to walk in children. Early detection is important, making it vital to seek medical attention as soon as you notice your child limping or experiencing pain in one hip. To diagnose the disease, the doctor will begin by reviewing your child’s medical history and asking some questions to get more information. Then, they will perform one or more of the following tests:
Nonsurgical Treatment for Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
If the extent of the Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is not severe, there may be nonsurgical treatments that a child can undergo to overcome the symptoms. First, your child may be put on crutches to reduce the pain felt when placing weight on the leg. Then, range of motion exercises may be performed to help get the leg moving properly again. Finally, casts, traction or braces may be used to repair any breakages and make the joint healthy again.
Surgery for Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
If nonsurgical treatment options have not been successful, the doctor may determine it is necessary for your child to have surgery to repair the joint. In this case, there are two common types of surgery performed in children with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease:
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease Research
Much of the research into Legg-Calve-Perthes disease surrounds the early diagnosis of this rare occurrence in children. To achieve earlier diagnosis, it is important for doctors to also know the cause of the disease, which is currently unclear.
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease affects boys 80% more often than it does girls. These boys are usually smaller in stature and are involved in sports and other high-energy activities. It most often affects the firstborn child. This knowledge has given some researchers insight into the cause, which is believed to come from genetics, but there is still too little information to determine this definitively.
Because the prognosis and overall recovery of a child with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease depends on early detection, more focus has been given to how to find this rare degenerative illness quickly. New tests are being put through trials to help get a better glimpse into the blood flow through the joint area, as well as to better understand what causes the femoral head to start degenerating. The later this disease is caught, the more difficult it is to treat and the more likely the child is to have long-term effects from the degeneration.
As research on various detection methods and causes is ongoing, it is a good idea for your conversation about it with your doctor to be ongoing as well.
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Trauma Services in New York performs Legg-Calve-Perthes disease surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the bones.