We report the results of anterior soft-tissue release of the hip for fixed flexion deformity in 17 patients (31 hips) with juvenile chronic arthritis. The mean age at operation was 8 years 6 months. All the patients were reviewed at one and three years and 11 (21 hips) were available for review at five years. The results were good as regards early pain relief and improved mobility. At one year, the average fixed flexion deformity was reduced from 35 degrees to 9.5 degrees, and at three years it was 18 degrees. This degree of improvement was maintained in the hips followed for five years. At 5 to 12 years' follow-up (mean 6.7) seven patients (14 hips) have required no further surgery and have maintained an acceptable range of motion. We discuss the influence of surgery on radiographic changes and on femoral neck anteversion.