Management of legg-calvé-perthes disease using an a-frame orthosis and hip range of motion: A 25-year experience

Margaret M. Rich, Perry L. Schoenecker

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49 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Containment treatment is widely accepted in the management of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. Many reports indicate the need to regain hip motion before pelvic or femoral osteotomy, but have not indicated how osteotomy affected motion. Recent studies have suggested that osteotomy treatment of lateral pillar B hips may result in a higher proportion of spherical hips than those managed nonoperatively; however, outcomes for children older than 8 years of age or with pillar C involvement remain unsatisfactory. METHODS:: The records of all patients with a diagnosis of Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease seen at our facility from 1985 through 2001 were reviewed. Two hundred and thirteen patients (175 males, 38 females), average age 6.4 years (range, 2.6 to 11.3 y), with 240 involved hips in the necrotic or the fragmentation stage were managed under a protocol to restore and maintain satisfactory hip abduction with an adductor tenotomy and abduction cast, followed by daily hip range-of-motion exercises and an A-frame orthosis to facilitate the concentric position of the epiphysis within the acetabulum. Assessment included measurement of hip abduction, femoral head sphericity and congruence, presence of femoral neck deformity, limb-length inequality, and later reconstructive surgical procedures. Hips were grouped by lateral pillar class (12A, 113B, 115C) and evaluated at maturity using a modified Stulberg grade. RESULTS:: All pillar A hips were spherically congruent. Of pillar B hips, 101 were spherically congruent, 8 were aspherical but congruent, and 4 were aspherical and incongruent. Of pillar C hips, 77 were spherically congruent, 26 were aspherical but congruent, and 12 were aspherical and incongruent. Age did not correlate with outcome. Hip abduction improved and was maintained in all groups. CONCLUSIONS:: Treatment that restored and maintained hip range of motion along with the use of an A-frame orthosis resulted in a high proportion of spherically congruent hips for patients of all ages irrespective of the extent of disease. Seventy-eight percent of pillar B and C hips were spherically congruent hips at maturity; overall, 93% of hips were congruent. This regimen has supplanted all other methods of treatment at our institution. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: Level IV - case series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • A-frame orthosis
  • Perthes disease
  • treatment


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