What is Perthes’ Disease?

right Hip Perthes disease

right Hip Perthes disease

Perthes disease is a condition where the blood supply to the growing hip joint is affected. The exact cause is unknown. The condition results in changes to the ball part of the hip joint, and can lead to an abnormal shape of the hip.

Treatment Options

Perthes disease can be treated by either physiotherapy exercises, splints, or surgery to the hip. The aim of all treatments is to allow the hip to regrow into a round shape during the early stages of Perthes disease. The treatment recommended by your doctor is adapted to the individual child’s needs.



Complications of treatment


The outcome of Perthes disease can be difficult to predict. The aim of treatment is to allow the hip to regrow in a round shape. If the hip regrows in an abnormal shape then longer term problems can occur. This may happen with or without treatment.

The complications for operations for Perthes include;

Scars- these grow with the child and can sometimes be “lumpy”

Infection- there is a small chance of infection with any operation. The risk of this is low in this hospital

Injury to nerves and blood vessels- operations can result in injury to nerves and blood vessels around the limb. This happens rarely.

Further surgery- further surgery can be required if complications occur. If a metal plate is inserted, then it will require a further operation at a later date to remove it. This operation does not require the child to go into a body plaster (hip spica)

Leg length difference- Perthes disease and its treatment can result in the affected leg being shorter than the other. This will be monitored, and occasionally requires further treatment.