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Perthes disease

Perthes disease


Perthes disease is a disorder in children affecting the hip joint, where the blood supply to the head of femur become inadequate. As a result the bone begins to soften & break down (known as necrosis). There is no identifiable cause for perthes diseases. Over time the body will begin to heal it self laying down new blood vessels & bone over several months & years to produce a new femoral head.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PERTHES DISEASE?

Pain usually affects the groin hip area & may cause the child to limp when walking. The leg may appear shorter with muscle wasting in the thigh & restricted range of movement. Diagnosis is usually confirmed with X-RAY or bone scans.

HOW CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP PERTHES DISEASE?

The aims of physiotherapy for perthes disease are to restore function and independence to maximize quality of life. Treatment by our specialist physiotherapist may include:

  • Advice regarding appropriate walking aids to maximise independence during initial stages e.g-crutches.
  • Exerciseses to maintain & restore range of movement & muscle stregth .
  • Gait re-education to improve mobilty.
  • Exercise to improve balance & co-ordination.
  • Provision of a home exercise programme.
  • Advice on appropriate activitivies & which activities to avoid e.g- high impact activities .
  • Hydrotherapy.

Recovery from perthes disease may take up to two years & althrough most children recover fully some may be left with permanent problems with their walking & therefore may require additional therapy at a later stage.