Medical Q&As

Perthes' disease

My 6-year-old son has been diagnosed with Perthes of his left hip with an effusion in the hip joint. What is the future likely to hold for him?

Perthes’ disease is a condition of the hip that occurs in children between the ages of 5 to 10 years. You also used the term effusion, which simply means that there is swelling within the hip joint. Perthes’ disease usually affects just one hip. The cause is unknown. The head of the femur or thighbone becomes flattened resulting in a painful limp. Perthes’ disease has no effect on the general health of the child. The process is purely confined to the hip. If the disease is very active it can result in permanent alteration of the head of the femur, which can give rise to osteoarthritis in later life. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and can range from rest to splinting to surgery.