Total Harmony Medicine

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes (LEG-kahl-VAY-PER-tuz) disease is a childhood condition that occurs when blood supply to the ball part (femoral head) of the hip joint is temporarily interrupted and the bone begins to die.

This weakened bone gradually breaks apart and can lose its round shape. The body eventually restores blood supply to the ball, and the ball heals. But if the ball is no longer round after it heals, it can cause pain and stiffness. The complete process of bone death, fracture and renewal can take several years.

To keep the ball part of the joint as round as possible, doctors use a variety of treatments that keep it snug in the socket portion of the joint. The socket acts as a mold for the fragmented femoral head as it heals.

Signs and symptoms of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease include:

  • Limping.
  • Pain or stiffness in the hip, groin, thigh or knee.
  • Limited range of motion of the hip joint.
  • Pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease usually involves just one hip. Both hips are affected in some children, usually at different times.

Management of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease with acupuncture: A case report.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (LCPD) is a rare temporary hip joint deformity mostly effecting young children from 4-10 years of age. It involves mainly the head of the femur, which softens and breaks down due to interruption of blood supply (avascular necrosis). We report a case of LCPD that was treated late and had a poor prognosis, but improved significantly during a prolonged course of acupuncture. A 12-year-old boy reported to an orthopaedic clinic in 2006 with limping and was diagnosed with LCPD. Surgeons applied orthosis without improvement and decided to perform surgery in 2008. However, the parents declined the surgical option and took the boy to an acupuncture clinic the same year. Needle acupuncture for 20 min and laser acupuncture locally on the hip joint area for 5 min were applied. After 30 sessions of acupuncture, the boy started to improve clinically. Imaging studies showed that new bone cells started to develop in the femoral head. After 130 sessions in 2010 the radiographic appearance showed almost 90% improvement, and after 196 sessions, in August 2012, he was fully recovered. Needle acupuncture treatment combined with laser acupuncture may be an option for the management of LCPD.

And when should you go to the doctor?

Make an appointment with your doctor if your child begins limping or complains of hip, groin or knee pain. If your child has a fever or can’t bear weight on the leg, seek emergency medical care.

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