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Transient Synovitis in Children: Care Instructions

Hip joint


Transient synovitis is irritation and swelling of the lining of the hip joint. It occurs most often in boys between the ages of 4 and 10 years. It's also called toxic synovitis.

This problem may happen after a child has a cold or a respiratory infection. Or it can happen after an illness with a fever, like tonsillitis or an ear infection. In some cases, it happens after an injury.

Your child will feel pain in the hip. There may also be thigh or knee pain. Sometimes this pain can cause a limp when the child walks.

You can help your child feel better with home treatment. The pain will probably improve in a couple of days. But it may take a few weeks for your child to return to normal.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Be careful when giving your child over-the-counter cold or flu medicines and Tylenol at the same time. Many of these medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Read the labels to make sure that you are not giving your child more than the recommended dose.
  • Limit activities that put weight on the hip. After the pain goes away, your child can do normal activities.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child's hip pain gets worse or lasts more than 10 days.
  • Your child has a fever of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.