Legs | Pathology | Legg-Calve-Perthes (Disease)


Legg-Calve-Perthes is a rare condition of childhood, consisting of idiopathic avascular necrosis of the femoral head. It is also known as osteochondrosis of the femoral head. The symptoms include: pain in the knee (can be symptom onset), persistent pain in the hip or thigh, thigh muscle hypotrophy,decreased mobility in the hip joint, especially internal rotation and abduction are affected, abnormal gait (limping, often painless), muscle spasm.

Causes and Risk factors

The underlying cause of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease — also known as ischemic (avascular) necrosis of the hip — isn't clear. Basically, not enough blood is supplied to the ball portion of the hip joint (femoral head). Without an adequate blood supply, the femoral head deteriorates. As dying bone cells are replaced with new cells, the bone becomes unstable, and it may break easily and heal poorly. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease can affect children of nearly any age, but its most common among boys ages 2 to 12. In fact, it is up to five times more common in boys. When girls develop Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, it tends to be more severe.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment focuses on keeping the ball part of the joint as round as possible while it heals, which can take two years or more. In some cases, physical therapy, exercises or casts are used to hold the ball firmly within its socket. Surgery is also an option, but most children with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease recover well without surgery. ...