One of the worst things professionals in a medical field deals with are children with injuries and illnesses but what makes things worse is when the doctor’s do not know what causes it. One such ailment is the Legg Calve Perthes Disease in which typically young boys have a hard time walking or have severe pain in their hip. No parent ever wants their son to be diagnosed with anything but most should feel relieved when the doctor reveals Legg Calve Perthe Disease. There will be some extended treatment time but most children recover to gain normal functionality in their legs.
What Is LCP?
LCP is a condition that arises in younger people in which the top of the thigh bone, or the femoral head experiences a total ceasing in the supply of blood. The top of thighbone then collapses with the location experiencing inflammation, irritation and extreme pain. Luckily, the condition is temporary and very treatable.
What Causes LCP?
One of the frustrating things about the disease is that it’s idiopathic, or in other words there is no known cause. That being said LCP is most often present in boys aged 4 to 10. Even though boys are almost 5 times more likely to come down with Perthes, the cases can be much more severe in female children. Physically active children who are considered small for their age are also more prone to Legg calve perthes disease as are those that are exposed to second hand smoke.
Signs of Legg Calve Perthes Disease
The signs of Legg calve perthes disease will usually start appearing in a child starting at age four all the way up until age ten. Since it’s most common in physically active boys, many times Legg calve perthes disease goes untreated for extended periods of time as the pain is written off as from being rambunctious.
Eventually the pain will consistently appear in only one hip and the acute tingling will likely become more severe with activity. Pain may also extend to the knee or thigh area because of overcompensating from the corresponding joints. The remedy for the pain is usually rest and staying off the leg and often times the child will develop a limp even when no pain is present.
The disease occurs in four different stages and the sooner it is detected the better their chances are at making a full recovery, early detection can also greatly decrease the chances of developing arthritis later in life.
- Necrosis is the initial phase when the supply of blood to the hip becomes interrupted, causing joint inflammation and pain. The bone will start to become dead tissue. This phase is noticeable because the ball of the bone becomes rougher loses some of its roundness. This phase may last up to a year.
- Fragmentation is when the body starts to replace the dead bone with healthy bone cells. The top of the bone starts to come back into shape during this 1 to 2 year phase
- Reossification is when the head of the bone is still coming back into shape and the cells start retaining strength and composition
- Remodeling completes the process as the regenerated cells are replaced by healthy adult bone cells.
Treatment Options for Legg Calve Perthes Disease
The phases of Legg calve perthes disease essentially make up the recovery as it is a self limiting or self healing disease. That being said in extreme cases such as when the ailment percolates in an older child additional treatment is needed. Care involves plenty of bed rest and may include placing the affected area in a cast or brace. Some children may also need to use a cane, walker, or wheelchair to get around and physical therapy may also be required. In extreme cases surgery is needed to contain the hip bone from falling into the cavity (osteoplasty.)
The Child’s Recovery
Luckily, most cases of Legg Calve Perthes Disease in children result in a full recovery. Many youngsters’ hip will repair itself and enable them to run, work strenuous jobs, and have an active life. One of the keys to optimum recovery is the age at which the condition developed and how much of the head of the thigh was affected but results have proven better with time and technology advances.