Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

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, with only about 10% of cases involving both sides.

  • Causes

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

  • 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, with only about 10% of cases involving both sides.

    Hip Joint
    hip socket
    Damage and repairs to the femoral head causes a limp.
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask 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:

    • X-ray
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
    • Bone scans

  • Prevention

    There are no known ways to prevent this rare disease.

  • Risk Factors

    LCPD is more common in male and at ages 4-8 years. Othre factors that may increase your child’s chance of developing LCPD include:

    • Small or short for age
    • Delayed maturity
    • Athletic, active child
    • Race: Asian, White, Eskimo
    • 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
    • Limping
    • 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

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Options include the following:


    Medical treatment is used to improve healing and prevent further injury to the hip.

    • It may include using
      crutches, traction, a brace, or cast.
    • It
      is usually done before surgery is recommended for children less than 6 years old.