Types of treatment available for Perthes disease include nonsurgical options, such as limiting activity or prescribing physical therapy, as well as surgical options, says American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The type of treatment a child receives for Perthes disease depends on the severity of damage to the hip, the age of the child at diagnosis and the stage of the disease. Doctors also use surgical treatment if nonsurgical options fail.
Perthes disease occurs when blood flow disruption to the head of the femur occurs, resulting in the death of bone cells. When a child with Perthes disease is 6 years old or younger and more than half of the femoral head remains, doctors often try nonsurgical treatments, explains American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. For very young children with only minor changes to the bone, doctors may just observe over time since under these conditions the bone can often regrow normally. Anti-inflammatory drugs help treat the pain Perthes disease can cause. If physical therapy is necessary, common exercises include hip rotation and hip abduction. If the bones begin to show signs of deformity despite these steps, doctors put the legs in casts with bars holding them apart to keep the hip in position.
When surgery is necessary, the most common procedure is an osteotomy, says American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In this procedure, surgeons cut the bone and reposition it to ensure proper hip alignment.