The etiology of osteochondritis of the hip, generally known as Perthes' disease, has been the subject of much speculation ever since the condition was recognized as a clinical entity several years ago. Traumatism, obscure infection and perverted metabolism have each had their advocates. Tuberculosis has been eliminated because the joints recover with good function, and syphilis has been excluded because Wassermann reactions have been negative.
Notwithstanding the results of laboratory tests, I desire to advance the opinion that this affection of the hip, which occurs with considerable frequency in children, is the result of inherited syphilis.
In the course of an extensive study of orthopedic conditions produced by congenital syphilis, involving the treatment of about two hundred cases of various types, several well developed instances of Perthes' disease have come under observation. Two of them presented symptoms of unusual spasm and limitation of motion, one having acute pain on any
ROBERTS PW. THE ETIOLOGY OF PERTHES' DISEASE. JAMA. 1917;LXIX(19):1598-1599. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590460024005