Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

Perthes’ disease

Perthes' disease is a childhood condition affecting the hip.

Perthes’ disease is rare, affecting 1 in 9,000 children, and we do not fully understand the reason why it occurs.

Perthes’ disease affects the femoral head – the ball part of the ball-and-socket hip joint at the top of the thigh bone. It loses its blood supply and as a result can become misshapen. This can lead to arthritis of the hip in later years.

Perthes' disease diagram - skeleton of hip with bone deteriorating at the top of hip. / Diagram o glefyd Perthes – sgerbwd clun gydag esgyrn yn dirywio ar ben uchaf y glun.

If your child is limping and develops any of the following signs you should urgently call 111 who will triage if your child needs urgent care:

  • Sudden onset pain in their hip, thigh or knee
  • Unable to put any weight on their leg to stand or walk
  • The leg has changed shape or is pointing at an odd angle
  • Generally unwell with a high temperature, feeling hot and shivery
  • Severe pain in the lower part of their tummy
  • Symptoms are getting worse
Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

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