Q:

What is Perthes disease?

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Quick Answer

Perthes disease is a condition where the blood supply to the head of the thighbone, or femur, is intermittent, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Because of this, the cells in the bone start to die. This disease is found in children.

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Full Answer

Perthes disease is a progressive condition that can last for years, claims the AAOS. The head of the femur breaks down, but starts to regrow when the blood supply returns. The problem with this regrowth is that the head of the femur might no longer retain the ball shape that fits easily and comfortably into the hip joint.

There are several types of treatment for Perthes disease, states the AAOS. These treatments depend on the age of the child, how badly the head of the femur is damaged, and how far the disease has progressed when it is finally diagnosed. The child can be observed if X-rays show little damage to the head of the femur. The child can also be given courses of anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain and inflammation.

Other ways to treat Perthes disease are to limit the child's more strenuous activities and recommend physical therapy, says AAOS. The child can also be fit with a cast or a brace. Surgery is also an option for some patients.

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