Transient synovitis of the hip

Our Osteopaths can help your child with irritable hip


Also known as irritable hip, Transient Synovitis (TS) is an temporary inflammatory condition that can cause a child to limp and complain of pain in the hip. It is generally seen in children aged 3-10 with boys most commonly affected.


The hip joint is made up of 2 bones, the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum (part of the pelvic bone). TS is when there is inflammation of the lining of the joint, leading to swelling, inflammation and tenderness. Commonly the limp and any tenderness will settle by itself in 1-2 weeks. If a limp does persist an Osteopathic treatment can help encourage the healing process to kick start allowing the condition to resolve.



Who and Why?


As mentioned above it generally affects children 3-10 years old, and mostly boys. The exact reason behind TS is unknown, however some children seem to develop it after they have had a virus. This leads us to believe that it may be caused by a reaction to products produced by the body to fight an infection.


What to look for?


  • Limping/favoring one leg/hip
  • Non weight bearing/refusing to walk for no other apparent reason
  • Walking on tiptoes
  • Complaining of hip, leg or knee pain. But may also present with a painless limp
  • For the real little ones, crying and obvious signs of pain when hips are being moved. Ie – nappy change.
  • Generally presents after a viral infection.
  • There are many conditions in childhood that can present with a limp so it is really important to have your child assessed correctly to ensure other more serious conditions are addressed appropriately and quickly.


Osteopathy and TS


  • Our Osteopaths will perform a full assessment to rule out any other potential hip or lower back pathology. We have found in our experience that most children, do actually present with a painless limp.
  • TS treatment will focus on decreasing any synovial inflammation or joint effusion with addressing the lymphatic system including the diaphragm and Thoracolumbar junction
  • improve the joint and muscle mechanics of the pelvis, lumbars and lower extremity.
  • Releasing off all the muscles of the hip, lower back and pelvis can provide pain relief and improve the child’s ability to walk.
  • Educating on positions to avoid and  encourage sitting and rest. Obviously this can be hard with young active kids!






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