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Signs and symptoms of Perthes disease can include:
Perthes disease is idiopathic, which means that there is no known cause for the disease. It occurs in about one out of every 12,000 children. Boys are five times more likely to be affected than girls, but girls’ cases can be more severe. Affected children are usually between 4 and 10 years old, very physically active and small for their age. The condition tends to be more common in children who’ve been exposed to second-hand smoke.
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease goes through four phases of changes that affect the head of the thighbone:
The blood supply to the head (ball) of the thighbone is interrupted, so the hip joint becomes inflamed, stiff and painful. Portions of the bone turn into dead tissue (avascular necrosis). The ball of the thighbone becomes less round in appearance on x-rays. This phase can last from several months up to one year.
The body “cleans up” the dead bone cells and replaces them with new, healthier bone cells. The head of the thighbone begins to remodel into a round shape again. The joint is still irritated and painful. This phase can last from one to three years.
The head of the thighbone continues to model itself back into a round shape with new bone. This phase lasts for one to three years.
Normal bone cells replace the new bone cells and the remodeling continues. To complete the healing process, this phase can last a few years.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”