Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes (LEG-kahl-VAY-PER-theez) disease is a childhood condition that affects the hip, where the thighbone (femur) and pelvis meet in a ball-and-socket joint.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease occurs when blood supply is temporarily interrupted to the ball part (femoral head) of the hip joint. Without sufficient blood flow, the bone begins to die — so it breaks more easily and heals poorly.

To keep the ball part of the joint as round as possible, doctors may use a variety of treatments to keep it snug in the socket portion of the joint. The socket acts as a mold for the fractured femoral head as it heals.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Signs and symptoms of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease include:

  • Limping
  • Pain or stiffness in the hip, groin, thigh or knee
  • Limited range of motion of the hip joint

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease usually involves just one hip. Both hips are affected in some children, usually at different times.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if your child begins limping or complains of hip, groin or knee pain. If your child has a fever or can't bear weight on the leg, seek emergency medical care.

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