Recommendations for physiotherapy and physical activity for children with Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease: a survey of pediatric orthopedic surgeons and physiotherapists in Sweden
Keywords:Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, Paediatric orthopaedics, Physiotherapy, Sweden
Background and purpose: Physiotherapy, restrictions of physical activity, and weightbearing are part of the treatment of children with Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease (LCPD). Prescription practices are widely discussed and vary between pediatric orthopedic surgeons (POSs) and physiotherapists (PTs). The purpose of this study was to identify recommendations for treatment methods in clinical practice to find some consensus and elaborate guidelines.
Patients and methods: A web-based questionnaire including 3 cases of LCPD (initial, fragmentation, and reossification stages) was answered by 25 POSs and 19 PTs. They were asked to describe their preferred recommendations for physiotherapy, including stretching, strengthening, weightbearing, and physical activities in relation to, e.g., range of motion (ROM) pain, sex, and disease stage.
Results: ROM was considered to be important when recommending physiotherapy; PTs also recognized pain and disease stage. Sex was reported as a factor with low importance. Stretching exercises were recommended for all disease stages. Recommendations for strengthening exercises varied for the initial and fragmentation stages. None of the participants recommended total non-weightbearing. Most restricted trampolining, running, ball sports, and gymnastics in the first 2 stages of the disease and allowed swimming, short walks, cycling, and horse riding without restrictions for all stages.
Conclusion: We found high agreement on recommending stretching exercises for all disease stages, but controversies regarding recommendations for strengthening exercises in the initial and fragmentation stages. No non-weightbearing treatment for the affected hip was recommended by any participants at any stage of the disease. There was no clear consensus regarding the appropriate timeline for resuming full activities.
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