• Transient Synovitis of the Hip

    (Irritable Hip, Toxic Synovitis)

    Definition

    Transient synovitis of the hip is a temporary irritation of the tissue that lines the hip joint. It can cause pain and difficulty when walking.
    Hip Bone and Local Musculature
    Abdominal muscle and pelvis
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    The cause of transient synovitis of the hip is unknown. It often happens after a recent cold or stomach virus but the virus is not suspected to be the cause.

    Risk Factors

    Transient synovitis of the hip is more common in children aged 2-10 years. It is also more common in boys.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:
    • Pain and swelling in the hip (pain may also pass to the groin, thigh, or knee)
    • Holding the leg and hip without moving (in infants and younger children)
    • Difficulty walking and standing
    • Refusal to bear weight on the affected leg
    Your child will otherwise appear well.

    Diagnosis

    You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    There are many reasons for hip pain. Other more serious causes may be ruled out with further examination and tests such as:
    • Blood tests—to look for potential infection of the joint
    • Images of the hip—to look for any damage to the tissue or bone of the hip
    Transient synovitis may be diagnosed if there are no other obvious causes of the hip problems.

    Treatment

    Transient synovitis will usually pass on its own in 5-7 days. Rest and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will help manage discomfort.
    Follow up appointments will be done to make sure the hip is improving as expected. Further testing may be done if the hip does not improve as expected.

    Prevention

    There is no known way to prevent this condition as the cause is unknown.

    RESOURCES

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org

    Kids Health—Nemours Foundation http://www.kidshealth.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.cps.ca

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    References

    Toxic synovitis. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/toxic-synovitis.html. Updated September 2014. Accessed August 24, 2017.

    Transient synovitis of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115596/Transient-synovitis-of-the-hip. Updated November 2, 2016. Accessed August 24, 2017.

    Transient synovitis of the hip. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/transient-synovitis-of-the-hip.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed August 24, 2017.

    Revision Information

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