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Transient Synovitis (Joint Inflammation)

What is transient synovitis?

Transient synovitis (TS) is inflammation of one or more joints that usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks. It can affect any joint, but most often it affects a child’s hip.

Other names for this problem are toxic synovitis and postinfectious arthritis.

What it is the cause?

Why some children get TS is not well understood. It most often occurs after a child has a viral infection. Sometimes it happens after a child gets a vaccine or takes certain medicines. Sometimes nothing can be found that may have set it off.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Limp

Sometimes children with TS also have a skin rash.

How is it diagnosed?

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

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays

These tests will help make sure that the cause of joint pain isn't something more serious than transient synovitis.

How is it treated?

TS gets better with medicines that treat inflammation, like ibuprofen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days for any reason.

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.

Your healthcare provider can tell you how much anti-inflammatory medicine you can safely give your child. Rarely, other medicines, such as a steroid, may be prescribed.

How can I help take care of my child?

Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your child’s test results
  • How long it will take for your child to recover
  • What 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.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-08-07
Last reviewed: 2012-03-28
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.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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