Waldenström sign (hip)

Waldenström sign is the increased distance between the pelvic tear drop and the femoral head. It is a highly specific sign of a hip joint effusion.

Radiographic features

  • >11 mm total distance or >2 mm difference compared to contralateral hip 1,2
  • measured between the lateral aspect of the pelvic tear drop and the medial aspect of the femoral head (referred to as Kohler teardrop distance) 1,2

History and etymology

It is named after the Swedish orthopaedic surgeon, J (Johann) Henning Waldenström (1877-1972) 4, who published the first description of the sign in an article on Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in children in 1934 3Waldenström macroglobulinaemia is named after Jan Gösta Waldenström, who was the son of Henning Waldenström. 

The sign was only first confirmed to represent a hip effusion in adults in 1987 5.

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Article information

rID: 30750
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Waldenstrom's sign
  • Waldenström's sign
  • Waldenstrom sign
  • Kohler tear drop distance
  • Kohler's tear drop distance

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