Infantile lameness: transient synovitis of the hip

Among the most common reasons for consultation in pediatric orthopedics is lameness.

Within the lameness of origin in the hip, the most frequent and at the same time more benign, is known as Transient Synovitis of Hip and consists of an inflammation of the synovial tissue (thin layer that surrounds the joint) of the hip as a result of a reaction to viral infections of respiratory origin. The pain begins to emerge between the ages of 3 and 10 years and goes from the thigh to, sometimes, the knee; it is known as Transient Hip Synovitis.

Origin and detection of transient synovitis of the hip

It is considered a benign and self-limiting process that can last from 24h to 3 weeks. The diagnosis is clinical, requesting an ultrasound that confirms the presence of joint fluid and simple X-rays that rule out other pathologies with bone involvement such as Perthes disease. Only if the clinical symptoms last for a long time despite the correct treatment, an MRI may be requested.

The origin remains unclear, but is currently known as a reactive synovitis to a previous viral infection, such as colds, pharyngitis or otitis.

How can transient synovitis of the hip be treated?

Treatment is based on rest and avoidance of physical activity and excessive load. Analgesics (paracetamol) and sometimes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) can also be administered for short periods of time.