This condition is a deformity of the femoral head caused by a temporary loss of blood supply to the hip joint. Perthes disease usually affects children between four and 10 years of age.
Perthes disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the hip socket are damaged or blocked. The inadequate blood supply can cause the head of the femur to atrophy and die. Without the femoral head, the hip socket fails, resulting in pain and loss of mobility.
Most children suffering from Perthes disease may experience pain and limping. The pain may be mild, at first, and become progressively worse over a period of weeks or months. The hip can become inflamed and the pain may increase during activity and lessen with rest.
Treatment options can include anti-inflammatory medications, rest, physical therapy, or immobilization of both legs in a specialized cast that will position the femoral head correctly within the hip socket during healing. Severe cases may require surgery.