How is Perthes disease treated?

Treatment for Perthes disease depends on the stage of your child’s condition and age of your child. The treatment often requires periods of immobilization (methods to keep your child’s hip from moving) and limits on normal activity. For young children, your physician may take a wait-and-see approach – treating with possible medications or weight-bearing restrictions. Older children may be treated surgically or nonsurgically.

Non-surgical treatments include the use of anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), naproxen sodium (Aleve®) and physical therapy. Some children may need to walk with crutches or be prescribed bed rest during the treatment process. If the disease continues to progress, the next step may be to place the child in a cast to keep the hips in the best position for healing. Generally, patients younger than six- to eight-years old can be treated without surgery.

If your healthcare provider determines that your child's condition is getting worse, surgery may be required. Surgical treatment can restore the proper alignment of the hip bones. Screws, plates and/or pins may be inserted to keep them in place (these will be removed at a later time). In order to protect the repair and maximize healing, there is a possibility that your child may need to be placed into a cast for six to eight weeks after surgery.

Following surgery, physical therapy will usually be required to help your child continue to heal.

Whether your child is treated surgically or non-surgically, a series of X-rays will be taken throughout the process to determine how he or she is healing. It is important to note that the amount of radiation your child receives with the these X-rays is a very small relative amount and is not a danger to your child’s future health.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/11/2020.


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