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Until last year when our son was diagnosed, we’d never heard of Perthes. It’s a rare condition which affects the bone (usually hip) in which the head of the joint loses its blood supply temporarily (cause is unknown) and so the bone dies and effectively disintegrates.
The symptoms include a limp, pain and the shortening of the leg. Treatment is limited - it means no running, jumping, climbing, football etc until the bone regrows - basically banning activities that kids aged 4 to 12 enjoy for several YEARS.
Our son has a weekly hydrotherapy session along with other sufferers. Some end up using crutches or are in wheelchairs.
Eventually, for most, bone will regrow and hopefully shape well enough to remain in the joint. Very little is known about Perthes and each child is different. Dogs get it too - and the treatment is the same!
Although our son is currently handling it really well, he has been told it’ll take up to 4 years before he can run again - he’s only 7! Children we know have ended up in traction for weeks to try and reduce the pain. Others are subjected to invasive tests and even surgery. We’d like to contribute to research into its causes and to help families cope with the day to day issues that arise from having a kid with Perthes.
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