If you have not heard about Perthe’s disease, it typically affects children usually between 4-8 years old but can occasionally occur in teenagers and younger children.
Perthe’s disease typically affects the hip joint in which the upper part of the thigh bone meets with the socket of the pelvis. The supply of blood to the head of the femur is disrupted, thus resulting to necrosis in which the bone starts to soften and eventually breaks down. The moment the blood supply returns to normal, the bone tissue is laid down and the head of the femur reforms and hardens which occurs over a time span of 1-3 years.
Since the hip is a ball and socket joint, a main issue is that the re-growth will not form in a sphere-like shape. The degree of deformity of the head of the femur will determine the symptoms and the possibility of future issues such as lasting diminished range of motion and even arthritis.
Remember that boys are more likely to develop this condition, but girls suffer severe symptoms and future issues. The symptoms typically affect one hip but can also affect both sides in some circumstances.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Perthe’s disease typically include pain in the groin area and oftentimes in the knee along with tiredness. The pain is often felt in the knee only even if the condition only affects the hip.
The child with the condition can end up with diminished range of motion at the hip joint, stiffness and walking with a distinctive limp. In most cases, the affected leg appears shorter in appearance than the unaffected leg.
A child suspected with Perthe’s disease must be properly assessed by a doctor. An accurate and early diagnosis of the condition is vital. The pain in the hip or knee joint in children must be assessed by the doctor with an X-ray. During the early stages, an X-ray will reveal normal results, thus other imaging tests such as bone scans or MRI are also performed.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it will determine whether it needs conservative treatment or surgical intervention. The treatment is focused on maintaining mobility of the hip and promotion of healing in the proper position.
The treatment varies depending on the age of the child as well as the harshness of the condition. In most cases, the treatment also includes using crutches, bed rest, traction as well as a leg brace, plaster cast application or even surgery in severe cases.
Once a child shows any of the symptoms of Perthe’s disease, it is recommended to schedule an appointment with a doctor for thorough assessment of the condition. This will ensure proper diagnosis of the condition as well as start the appropriate treatment.