By: Charles W. Boatright
Since I could remember from age six, I experienced some degree of discomfort and pain in my knees. The knee pain got progressively worse, as I reached my mid-teens. Playing baseball and football was becoming a challenge, with the periods of recovery consisting of cold and heat therapy, following any type of sporting activity. I had to withdraw from both baseball and football at age 15 and concentrate on golf, a less-impact sport, by the time I was 16 years of age.
At first I was tolerating golf by playing in tournaments and practicing a few day per week. As I reached 17, I was forcing myself to play in tournaments. Finally, I reached a point at age 18, where I was having to pull out of tournaments after 9 to 12 holes. My limp and limited range of motion was getting worse with the pain level.
At the start of my senior year high school, I enlisted with the Army after my senior year to study the field of engineering. While playing golf one day in April at Burns Park golf course, I pop my kneecap out of place for the second time. I was able to pop the kneecap back in place, but the swelling started. This lead to my first of four knee surgeries between the ages of 17 and 42. I was medically discharged from the Army the summer after my senior year. I then pursued my engineering degree and worked while attending school. Golf and other activities were activities that I had to reluctantly relinquish.
Finally after age 42, I had to take anti-inflammatories (Vioxx) just to make it through a regular day. Without anti-inflammatories, pain levels would reach levels of 8. Even sleeping was interrupted with pain. Doctors offered me narcotics to address the pain, similar to what the singer Prince was prescribed. I refuse even the notion of narcotics because of the effects and dangers. As a last resort, my general practitioner in Mississippi X-rayed both knees and hips. I used the internet and found a doctor in Missouri who specialized in knee and hips diseases, and I sent him these X-rays and a brief description of my problems.
I received a call from the doctor and his diagnosis from the X-rays was that I had a disease called Perthes. Naturally never hearing of this type of disease, I thought the worst. Dr. Smith assured me that it was a treatable disease and I could live a full life and enjoy golf again. I had my right hip replaced at age 48 and now am enjoy golfing and even picked up writing my book on golf that I started 40 years earlier from notes I had during my teenage days.
For those parents of children or persons that experience continued and progressive knee or hip pain, the following symptoms need to be looked for:
- Sometime between the ages of 4 and 6, blood supply is cut off from the femur head for a short period of time (between four to eight weeks).
- The femur head or hip socket starts deteriorating and dying. After blood supply is re-established to the hip area affected, the body starts to remove the dead material and tries to replace it with softer bone that isn’t quite as hard and durable as the original bone surface, as noted in the diagram.
- In most cases, this occurs in males on a ratio of 50:1.
- 1:1,200 children will experience some degree of Perthes between 6 to 8 years of age.
- In the early to mid-teens, the person with Perthes develops a slight limp, with periods of pain, especially after sports.
- Sporting activities become difficult and painful that later extends to normal daily activities, if left untreated in the early to mid-twenties.
- By the late 20’s, mobility becomes limited and periods of pain become more frequent and intense.
- Pain can be experienced as referred pain that can be located in the knees. Thus, my four knee surgeries and missed diagnosis. The three surgeons never checked for Perthes, even after the second surgery.
- Due to the deterioration on the hip joint, there can be up to a quarter of an inch of wear and tear, reducing the length of the affected leg. This cause excessive wear and pain in both knees.
- Painful muscle spasms can also be experienced around the hip or upper leg.
- The deformity in the socket can also cause the onset of arthritis, if not treated during the early stages.
- I personally got to the point in my mid-thirties where I could no longer bend at the right hip joint to put on my socks and shoes. This was caused by the muscle in the groin (adductor longus) becoming very tight, preventing the hip socket from rotating.
- When I did play golf in my early thirties for business outings and charitable golf tournaments, I was so stoved up and in so much pain that the next day that I couldn’t get out of bed. Two years before my hip replacement, I was using a cane to just get around during the course of the day. The wheelchair was my next step.
- This was one reason that golf remained my passion and not my profession.
- Last point, the cause of Perthes is not known at this time. Some recent studies indicate that there might be a genetic link.
- From my experience with misdiagnosis and years of pain, Prince might have suffered from the same debilitating disease, Perthes, given his age and symptoms.
If you are a parent that has a preteen or teen with these symptoms, please have them examined by a specialist. It might save them from years of pain and not being able to participate in regular activities that are important for their mental and physical development.
I hope this helps other parents and kids from experiencing a debilitating disease that I experienced. The book I wrote is called The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, written for a student who would love to get into golf.
By: QATSPY GOLF Approach
Charles W. Boatright
The ESPY Golf Swing Coach– Price for Paperback $15.75 and E-Book $8.99, Hardback is also available on my website: www.espygolfapp.com/store OR your local bookstore and also:
Lulu Publishing: The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, Charles W. Boatright
Once you learn WHY, you don’t forget HOW!
Two decisions that you can make for yourself and your kids are to get a copy of my book and place the book and a golf club into their hands. You will never look back, but only forward. You will not miss with this for yourself and/or your kids.
A Recommendation for your Golf Game:
I would like to recommend a wonderful radio program that I regularly listen to on my I-Heart Radio app on KARN 102.9 FM station, out of Little Rock, AR. They air a golf show called “Arkansas Fairways and Greens,” at 7:00 AM CT each Saturday morning, hosted by Bob Steel and Jay Fox. Bob occasionally has on his show a guest named Shawn Humphries, a Professional Golf Instructor from Dallas, Texas. One thing that Mr. Humphries stresses is the mental part of golf, not focusing on the results but the process.
Until next time– Be Synched, Tee-to-Green, with The ESPY Golf Swing!