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
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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.

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