Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

(LCPD; Osteonecrosis of the Hip; Avascular Necrosis; Ischemic Necrosis; Coxa Plana; Osteochondritis)

Definition

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD) is a rare hip disease. It affects children 2-12 years old. LCPD is a disorder of the top of the leg bone. The disorder interrupts blood flow to the hip. The loss of flow causes death of bone and impairs bone growth. Over time, it causes deformity as the bone breaks and reforms causing the child to limp. LCPD most often occurs in just one hip.
Hip Joint
hip socket
Damage and repairs to the femoral head causes a limp.
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Causes

The cause of LCPD is unknown. Infection, trauma, and inflammatory processes are possible causes.

Risk Factors

LCPD is more common in male and at ages 4-8 years. It is also more common in children with European, Asian, or Eskimo ancestry. Other factors that may increase your child’s chance of developing LCPD include:
  • Small or short for age
  • Delayed maturity
  • Athletic, active child
  • Secondhand smoke exposure
  • Blood clotting abnormalities

Symptoms

The primary symptom of LCPD is a limp when walking. This can occur in children 2-12 years old. It peaks in children 4-8 years old. Other symptoms may include:
  • Hip pain
  • Groin, thigh, or knee pain
  • Reduced range of motion in the hip
  • Shortening of the leg, or legs that are not the same length
  • Muscle weakness in the upper thigh

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. During the exam, your child’s hip will be examined to see how far it can move. The doctor may refer your child to a specialist. An orthopedist focuses on bones and joints.Images may need to be taken of your child's bones. This can be done with:

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