Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease | Treatments

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Contact the Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program

  • 617-355-6021
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
  • Visit our Locations

How is Legg-Calve-Perthes disease treated?

How Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is treated depends on the complexity and severity of the condition — as well as age, overall health, medical history and the expectations for the course of the condition as a child grows. The goals of treatment includes:

  • preserving the roundness of your child's head of the thigh bone
  • keeping the head of the thigh bone in the socket (containment)
  • preventing deformity while the condition runs its course
  • regaining hip motion
  • eliminating pain that results from the tight muscles around the hip and the inflammation inside the joint

Treatment options depend on the degree of your child's hip pain, stiffness and x-ray changes over time — as well as how much of the head of the thigh bone has collapsed.

Legg-Calve-Perthes non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical approaches to treatment may include:
  • resting the joint (not bed rest)
  • activity restrictions
  • non-steroidal pain medication
  • bed rest and traction
  • casting or bracing to:
    • hold the head of the thigh bone in the hip socket
    • permit limited joint movement
    • allow the thigh bone to remold itself into a round shape
  • physical therapy, to keep the hip muscles strong and promote hip movement
  • crutches or wheelchair (in some cases)

Legg-Calve-Perthes surgical treatment

If non-surgical treatments prove inadequate, your child may need surgery to hold the head of the thigh bone in the hip socket (containment). Surgery involves reorienting the affected bones (osteotomy) and stabilizing the realignment with screws and plates.

The two most important factors that determine the outcome are the child's age (usually, the younger the better) and how much of the head of the thigh bone is affected by the condition.

What is the Long-term outlook of Legg-Calve-Perthes?

The majority of children treated for Legg-Calve-Perthes disease have corrections that enable them to walk, play, grow and live active lives. Diagnosing and treating your child’s Perthes disease early in its development greatly increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

The two most critical factors that determine the outcome are the child's age at onset (usually, the younger the better) and how much of the head of the thigh bone is affected by the condition. The more severe his case is, the greater the chance for your child’s hip motion to become limited and for him to have further hip problems in the future, including premature arthritis.

Legg-Calve-Perthes follow-up care

Your child will be followed periodically by his orthopedist until his skeletal growth is complete. Your doctor will monitor your child's hip, since it needs to grow normally through his whole growth period in order to be durable for a lifetime. The majority of surgical treatments for Legg-Calve-Perth Disease at Boston Children's occur without major complications. But later in life, hip problems can recur, even after successful treatment in childhood. The more severe the case is, the greater the chance for limited hip motion, different leg lengths and arthritis. At Boston Children's, we follow many of our hip disease patients throughout their lives.

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.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

Close