Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD) is a rare hip disease that affects children. It happens when blood supply does not reach the head of the thigh bone (femoral head). This causes bone cells to die.
Normal Hip Anatomy
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It is not known why blood supply does not reach the head of the thigh bone.
This problem is more common in males and children who are 4 to 8 years of age. It is also more common in children who are White.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
Limping is a common first symptom. Other problems may be:
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the hip. This may be enough to suspect LCPD. Your child may be sent to a doctor who treats bones and joints.
Images of the hip may be taken. This can be done with:
Treatment will depend on the child's age. The goal is to ease pain and improve motion. This may be done with:
Surgery may be done in children who are not helped by other methods. It will help keep the head of the thigh bone in place.
There are no guidelines to prevent LCPD. The cause is not known.
Family Doctor—American Academy
of Family Physicians
National Osteonecrosis Foundation
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/legg-calve-perthes-disease . Accessed September 18, 2020.
Mazloumi SM, Ebrahimzadeh MH, et al. Evolution in diagnosis and treatment of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. Arch Bone Jt Surg. 2014 Jun;2(2):86-92.
Perthes disease. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
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Accessed September 18, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/18/2020