Legg calve perthes (1597)

Key points below

What is Legg-Calve’ Perthes?

Legg-Calve’ Perthes is a condition that affects the upper part of the large bone in the thigh (femur). The femur loses its blood supply for a period of time. This causes damage to the hip joint. This
problem is called avascular necrosis. Normally only one hip joint is affected. It often occurs in children ages 2 to 12 years and is more common in boys.

diagram of hipdiagram of hip

What causes it?

The cause is not known. It is more common in families where other family members have also had the condition (genetic).

How does it affect my child?

Perthes normally has several stages. The stages happen over a period of months to years. The stages may not follow in order, and parts of each stage may happen at the same time.

Initial stage

Healing stage

Healed stage

What tests will be done?

X-rays are done to see what stage the condition is in. A bone scan may be done if needed. These tests also show how the joint has been affected. Other tests may also be done to look at the structure of the bone. After the tests are done, treatment will be started.

How is it treated?

Treatment is done to help reduce damage to the hip joint. Without treatment, your child has a greater risk of having hip arthritis. This could affect movement and cause pain.

Possible treatments include:

What follow-up care is needed?

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This sheet was created to help you care for your child or family member. It does not take the place of medical care. Talk with your healthcare provider for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.



Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has:

  • Any new pain in the hips, groin, thighs or knees.
  • Any problems with the cast or brace. Look at the book given to you on cast care.
  • Special health care needs that were not covered by this information.