Learn About Toxic Synovitis

What is the definition of Toxic Synovitis?

Toxic synovitis is a condition affecting children that causes hip pain and limping.

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What are the alternative names for Toxic Synovitis?

Synovitis - toxic; Transient synovitis

What are the causes of Toxic Synovitis?

Toxic synovitis occurs in children before puberty. It usually affects children from 3 to 10 years old. It is a type of inflammation of the hip. Its cause is not known. Boys are affected more often than girls. It can also occur after a common cold or viral infection.

What are the symptoms of Toxic Synovitis?

Symptoms may include:

  • Hip pain (on one side only)
  • Limp
  • Thigh pain, in front and toward the middle of the thigh
  • Knee pain
  • Low-grade fever, less than 101°F (38.33°C)

Aside from the hip discomfort, the child does not usually appear ill.

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What are the current treatments for Toxic Synovitis?

Treatment often includes limiting activity to make the child more comfortable. But, there is no danger with normal activities. The health care provider may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Toxic Synovitis?

The hip pain goes away within 7 to 10 days.

What are the possible complications of Toxic Synovitis?

Toxic synovitis goes away on its own. There are no expected long-term complications.

When should I contact a medical professional for Toxic Synovitis?

Contact your child's provider for an appointment if:

  • Your child has unexplained hip pain or a limp, with or without a fever
  • Your child has been diagnosed with toxic synovitis and the hip pain lasts for longer than 10 days, the pain gets worse, or a high fever develops
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: July 28, 2021
Published By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Sankar WN, Winell JJ, Horn BD, Wells L. The hip. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 698.

Singer NG. Evaluation of children with rheumatologic complaints. In: Hochberg MC, Gravallese EM, Silman AJ, Smolen JS, Weinblatt ME, Weisman MH, eds. Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 105.