What is Perthes disease?

Perthes disease is a rare childhood condition that affects the hip when blood supply to the hip bone is disrupted. The hip is a ball and socket joint that is made up of the femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (cup/socket). The epiphysis at the upper end of the femur is the growth center that eventually becomes the femoral head. A lack of blood supply affects this growth centre and causes weakening or death of the bone tissue. This can change the shape of the hip and causes pain in the process.

Most children who develop Perthes disease live very healthy and physically active lives. Though it may be necessary to limit physical activity during treatment, children are usually able to return to the activities they enjoy. The disease is typically found in young children, with a higher prevalence seen in boys. If not treated correctly it can lead to osteoarthritis in adults.


The cause of bone death and weakening is an interruption of the blood supply to the head of the femur. It is unknown exactly why this interruption occurs. Repetitive trauma that damages the blood vessels or blood clotting disorders may be related to the cause of Perthes disease.


  • Noticeable development of a limp
  • Low-grade ache in the thigh, groin or knee
  • Pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest
  • Restriction of movement in the hip


Understanding the underlying causes and properly diagnosing your condition is the first step to treatment. We then provide a holistic approach to helping patients and their families through their surgical journey. Properly supporting you and/or your child, while educating you on the details helps us ensure the most successful outcomes possible. Our hands on, team approach makes patients feel supported throughout the whole treatment process.

To learn more about your condition and receive a diagnosis, schedule a virtual consultation with one of our experienced orthopedic doctors. During this consultation, all your questions will be answered as our specialists guide you through the evaluation process.

Conservative treatment

Physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and braces can all be used as conservative methods of treatment.

Surgical treatment


Articulated Hip distraction

Case study

10 year old girl with Perthes disease


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At the Canadian Limb Lengthening Centre we offer complex deformity correction and limb lengthening surgeries performed by experienced surgeons with the most up to date technologies. When it comes to your care, and treatment of deformity and limb length discrepancy, our surgeons have extensive training and experience.