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Toxic Synovitis Of The Hip In Children

What is toxic synovitis of the hip?

Toxic synovitis of the hip is swelling of your child's hip joint. The hip joint is where your child's hip bone and leg bone meet. Toxic synovitis of the hip can occur at any age, but is most common in children 3 to 10 years old. It does not spread to other parts of the body. It may also be called transient synovitis of the hip.

Bones of the Pelvis

What causes toxic synovitis of the hip?

The cause of toxic synovitis of the hip is unknown. It more commonly occurs after a lung or stomach virus. It may also occur after a trauma.

What are the signs and symptoms of toxic synovitis of the hip?

Your child may have any of the following:

  • Sudden pain in the hip, upper leg, or knee. The pain causes your child to limp when he walks.

  • Limited leg and hip motion. Your child may sit or lie with his legs apart in an unusual position.

  • A low fever of 100ºF or less.

How is toxic synovitis of the hip diagnosed?

A caregiver will examine your child's hip and leg to locate his pain. He may ask when your child's symptoms began. He may also check your child's leg and hip movement. Your child may also need the following tests:

  • Blood tests: Your child may need blood drawn for tests. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, or heel. Blood tests may show if an infection has caused your child's symptoms.

  • MRI: During an MRI, pictures are taken of your child's bones, joints, muscles, or blood vessels. Your child will need to lie still during his MRI. Never let your child enter the MRI room with any metal objects. This can cause serious injury.

  • X-ray: This is a picture of your child's hip. A hip x-ray may show signs of infection or other problems.

  • Ultrasound: This is a test that helps caregivers see inside your child's body. Sound waves are used to show pictures of his hips on a TV-like screen. Caregivers may use the ultrasound to help find and remove fluid from the hip joint.

  • Bone scan: During this test, pictures are taken of your child's bones. Your child is given a small, safe amount of radioactive dye in an IV. Caregivers can look at the pictures for broken bones, infection, or problems in the bones.

How is toxic synovitis of the hip treated?

Toxic synovitis may go away on its own within 1 to 3 weeks. Rest and limited leg movement may help your child improve more quickly. He may also be told to keep weight off his leg until his pain is reduced. Your child may also need the following:

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's doctor.

  • Pain medicine: Your child may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you give your child his medicine.

  • Acetaminophen: This medicine is available without a doctor's order. It may decrease your child's pain and fever. Ask how much medicine your child needs and how often to give it.

  • Steroids: Rarely, your child may be given steroids to help decrease redness, pain, and swelling.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if he has side effects. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age: Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin when he is sick. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

When should I follow up with my child's caregiver?

Follow up with your child's caregiver within 2 days. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

When should I contact my child's caregiver?

Contact your child's caregiver if:

  • You think the medicine is not helping your child.

  • Your child's symptoms, such as pain and limping, do not improve within 3 weeks on their own, or within 2 days with medicine.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child´s condition or care.

When should I seek immediate help?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child's symptoms get worse or do not go away.

  • Your child cannot put any weight on his leg.

  • Your child's fever is higher than 100ºF.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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