dr. Gary Nattrass

Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon

Perthes Disease

Perthes Disease occurs in children where too little blood is supplied to the upper ball portion of the femoral head, also known as the hip joint.

Perthes Disease

What is Perthes Disease?

Perthes Disease, or Legg Calve Perthes Disease, is a condition that affects the hip joint in children. It occurs when the blood supply to the head of the femur (thigh bone) is disrupted. 

Without an adequate supply of blood, the bone begins to soften and deteriorate, leading to a loss of its normal shape and function. This loss of shape can lead to pain, stiffness and loss of mobility in the affected hip joint.

Perthes Disease

Perthes Disease Diagnosis

As a paediatric orthopaedic expert, Gary has vast experience treating Perthes Disease and can recommend the best treatment plan for your child, giving them the best chance of a successful recovery. If you suspect that your child may have Perthes Disease, Gary will use a combination of clinical examination, imaging and an analysis of your child’s medical history to assist in making a possible diagnosis. 

Your one-on-one consultation will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about Perthes Disease, its diagnosis, and the treatment options available.

Perthes Disease

Quick Facts About Perthes Disease

Cause

Trauma/Infection/Hereditary 

Signs/ Symptoms

Thigh, groin or knee pain, limping, reduced range of motion

Treatment

Physiotherapy, medication, surgery 

Treatment Process

Easy/Moderate

Recovery

Surgery 12 months

Covered under Medicare?

Yes, select patients may be eligible

Download Perthes Disease Fact Sheet

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For more information, download the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne Perthes Disease Fact Sheet.

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Perthes Disease FAQ

Though we do not fully understand the exact cause of Perthes Disease, a disruption in the blood supply to the head of the femur occurs which leads to the death of bone tissue. This results in a loss of the normal hip anatomy and function. Usually there is no known cause, but common contributing factors include

  • Trauma via direct injury to the hip 
  • Blood flow issues 
  • Infection 
  • Other disease processes

Perthes Disease affects approximately 1 in 10 000 children. It is more common in males than females and typically occurs in children between 4 and 8 years old.

The most common Perthes Disease symptom is a pain in the hip, thigh, groin or knee. However, it can present as a painless limp.

If your child is diagnosed with Perthes Disease treatment can include

  • Rest and limiting weight on the affected hip (crutches or a wheelchair)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Pain and inflammation medications
  • Surgery

The recovery time after surgery for Perthes Disease can vary depending on the condition severity and type of surgery performed. Whilst it can take 2-5 years for the hip to heal fully, it is extremely variable.

If left untreated, Perthes Disease can lead to several health complications including

  • Persistent pain and arthritis in the hip joint
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the hip joint
  • Deformity in the hip joint
Vic Ortho Staff

Speak to our friendly team

Not all conditions and symptoms are alike. If you have a concern about your child’s wellbeing or would like to direct questions to Gary Nattrass you may contact our friendly team on 03 9322 3360.

We will gladly take your call and assist you with your enquiry.