What is transient synovitis?
Transient synovitis is a non-specific inflammation of the tissues around the hip joint. It is called “transient”, because it does not last for a long time. Usually, only one hip is affected not both sides. It is the most common cause of sudden hip pain in children. Boys are more often affected than girls.
What causes transient synovitis?
The exact cause of transient synovitis is not known but it is thought to be related to:
- Viral infection of the upper respiratory tract
- Bacterial infection
- Allergic reaction
What are symptoms of transient synovitis?
Children with transient synovitis have groin pain whenever the hip joint is moved. The pain can also be experienced along the anterior thigh or the knee joint. Because of the pain, some children refuse to bear weight. Often children walk with a limp.
Some children instinctively hold the hip in a position of comfort, which is bent and turned out. Pain may also cause spasm of the muscles around the hip joint. Some patients have also fever, but many children with transient synovitis do not have fever.
How is transient synovitis diagnosed?
The orthopaedic surgeon will take a detailed history and will check the range of motion of the hip joint. Further investigations may include blood tests, x-rays and/or ultrasound and MRI. These tests may be needed to exclude other more sinister causes of hip pain.
How is transient synovitis treated?
Most importantly, children with transient synovitis need a good rest. Walking should initially be avoided. Medication may help to ease the pain and to reduce the inflammation around the hip joint. Checking the child’s temperature is also advised.
Most likely, the condition will get better within a few days and the child can get back to normal activities. The doctor will need to closely observe your child’s condition to ensure that symptoms resolve over one to two weeks.
If symptoms persist or get worse, further tests may be required as your child may have a problem other than transient synovitis.
What can I do to help prevent transient synovitis in my child?
Transient synovitis cannot be prevented as of now since the exact cause of this condition is not known.
Dr. Gurpal Singh
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
- Specialist in Orthopaedic Oncology, Joint Replacement and
- Robotic-assisted Surgery
- Centre for Orthopaedic Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery
- Centre for Orthopaedics and Hip and Knee Surgery
- MBBS (S’pore), MRCSEd, M Med (Ortho)
- FRCSEd (Ortho), FAMS (Orthopaedics)