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Legg Calve Perthes and the importance of Cast Care

Image of the difference between a healthy Femur and the condition  Legg calve Perthes

Gilette knows the importance of making sure your child has the best care and equipment in order to make sure the children live to their fullest potential. Here at Gillette, we treat Legg calve Perthes, a condition in which blood supply to the hip bone is temporarily interrupted, causing the bone in the hip to deteriorate. In a lot of cases, children are put into casts to help regain hip movements.

Legg calve Perthes

Characteristics of Perthes

  • Affects the hip and does not develop in other joints.
  • Usually occurs in children ages 4 to 8
  • Typically occurs over a period of two years or more

The cause of Perthes is still unknown the cause of Perthes is unknown. The condition usually occurs in children from 4 to 8 years of age but can occur between ages 18 months to 14 years. The condition often develops in children who are more physically active. In most cases, the condition typically occurs in one of their hips and only approximately 10-15% of children have both of their hips affected. At Gillette we have several orthopedic specialists at Gillette are involved in the International Perthes Study Group (IPSG) such as Jennifer Laine, an orthopedic surgeon along with many others dedicated to studying treatments and outcomes help shape care standards for children who have Legg-Calvé-Perthes for decades to come. 

Perthes Disease Symptoms and Effects

  • If your child has Perthes, symptoms may include:
  • Pain in any of the following areas: groin, hip, inner thigh, or knee.
  • Limping, perhaps without a known cause or injury
  • Limited hip range of motion.
  • The main goals of Perthes disease treatment are:
  • Maintaining the ball-like shape of the femoral head – often using the socket portion of the hip as a mold
  • Maintaining adequate range of motion of the hip
  • Keeping the ball of the hip well-contained within the socket during the healing process
  • Keeping your child as comfortable as possible and managing their pain.

Non-surgical options:

  • Observation – especially for children 5 years of age or younger
  • Pain management including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen)
  • Limiting physical activity levels (e.g., running and jumping) to prevent further damage to an already weakened bone.
  • Limited weight-bearing – possibly using crutches, walker, or wheelchair
  • Physical therapy exercises to maintain hip range of motion

Caring for your child’s Cast

Bracing or casting is a common treatment that helps keep the head of the femur to its normal position within the hip. It may be difficult to understand how to properly care for your child and their cast, making sure that there is enough space for your child to safety get around using a walker or wheelchair if need be. You need to make sure to keep the cast dry and clean. Help change your child’s position every two hours during the day so they can prevent bed sores. Until ready for a full shower or bath, you may sponge bathe your child with a moist washcloth and making sure the cast is always kept dry. Talk to your provider if you are unsure and want more guidance on the best way to care for your child.Image of a Provider that specializes in Legg calve Perthes

Jennifer Laine, MD, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Gillette Children's