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Hip Joint Inflammation

What is transient synovitis?

Transient synovitis (TS) is irritation and swelling (inflammation) in a child’s hip joint that usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks. It can also affect other joints.

It may also be called toxic synovitis or irritable hip.

What it is the cause?

The exact cause of TS is not known. It most often starts after a child has a viral infection. Sometimes it happens after a child gets a vaccine or takes certain medicines. Sometimes no cause can be found.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include pain and limping. Some children with TS also have a skin rash.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays

Your child may have tests or scans to check for other possible causes of the symptoms.

How is it treated?

TS is usually treated with anti-inflammatory medicines.

Your healthcare provider may recommend prescription or nonprescription medicine, such as ibuprofen, or naproxen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. Read the label and give as directed. Check with your healthcare provider before you give any medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen. This includes medicines like baby aspirin, some cold medicines, and Pepto-Bismol. Children and teens who take aspirin are at risk for a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.

How can I help take care of my child?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your child’s test results
  • How long it will take for your child to recover
  • If there are activities your child should avoid and when your child can return to normal activities
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-10-16
Last reviewed: 2014-10-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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