Perthes’ disease

common problems

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What is Perthes' disease?

This is a childhood condition in which a part of the ball of the hip collapses so that the femoral head loses its normally round shape. This may be painful in childhood, but often settles down by itself. Some children wear a brace or have surgery to try to limit the amount of damage. In late adolescence or adult hood, the hip may begin to hurt again as the non-round ball starts to wear the socket irregularly. Occasionally, large pieces of bone may become detached from the femoral head and cause catching or locking symptoms.

How can the adult consequences of Perthes' disease be treated?

Sometimes the only reliable treatment is a hip resurfacing or replacement. However, in many patients, hip arthroscopy (or occasionally surgical dislocation of the hip) provide an opportunity to remove loose fragments of bone and cartilage and to reshape the ball in order to allow it to move more freely in the socket.