Monday, 13 July 2009

Response to Fred's posting about Perthes' disease

This is Jane, in Nicaragua on a field trip, and with an unusually strong internet connection despite the rain, and time while I wait for something to charge on my computer, so I came here and read this. It's so interesting to hear about a 'modern' case of Perthes' disease - I never really understood what it was, and it's good to hear that it can now be treated so relatively easily and so successfully. Something that also comes through - so like some of the more 'old time' reports, is the importance of parents' being able to help children to get back to normality again. One of the things that strikes me about so many of our contributions is how people have taken in their stride - pun intended! - what on paper might look like quite awful experiences in childhood, but which people have not only survived but turned into good memories.
Jane F

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A patients Perthes Disease treatment in 1968

The following is an account of Perthes disease treatment given to me by the mother of the ‘patient’:-

At approximately 4 1/2 years Ian’s his leg hurt when walking in Snowdonia in the summer. He kept putting his hand on his hip and asking his Daddy to carry him.

On returning home his mother took him to see the doctor who said that it was normal for children to limp in summer – due to all the exercise they had outdoors. After another week of limping badly he was taken to see another doctor who suggested he should see a specialist at the hospital.

At the first consultation and x-ray nothing was confirmed but Perthes was suspected. A month had to elapse to give the bone time to ‘change’ – or not. At the second consultation and x-ray a definite change in the hip was seen. The consultant told his mother that instant wearing of callipers was necessary. The alternative treatment was long bed rest without putting the leg on the floor at all for many months. If nothing was done then the child would have a deformed hip joint and a dreadful limp. An instant decision was made to go for callipers and measurements were taken. They were ready within the week.

It was amazing how well Ian coped with the callipers and started school three weeks after they were fitted. The school wanted him to start two weeks after term started but his mother insisted he started on the same day as other children to avoid him being considered too unusual. He settled in well and took part in all school activities as far as he was able. He was taken to school in a pushchair.

The callipers were changed as he grew and he wore them for about 18 months – not as long as we had feared! After not using his leg for a time he had to learn to walk again and had prolonged exercises to do to strengthen his muscles.

No problems have been experienced since – and no arthritis!

A parental viewpoint of todays Perthes disease can be found at this Parents of Perthes Support Group website