If you’re struggling with swelling, stiffness, and range of motion with your joints, you might be suffering from synovitis. This type of inflammation in the joints can be rather painful and annoying to live with.

When you suffer from synovitis, you need the right doctor and the right treatment. Dr. John Andrachuk provides years of experience in diagnosing and treating synovitis. As a premier Orthopedic Sports Medicine surgeon in Atlanta, Dr. Andrachuk can help relieve your pain and get you back to normal living.

What is Synovitis?

A medical term used to describe inflammation of the synovial membrane; synovitis is found in the joints. The synovial membrane lines the joints. Synovitis is often associated with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, and other conditions. It can also be found in joints affected by osteoarthritis. If synovitis occurs for many years, it may cause degeneration in the joints.

Common Types of Synovitis

Synovitis comes in several forms including:

  • Acute Synovitis – This type of synovitis causes the joint volume to increase for a few hours to an entire day. The shape and contour of the kneed may change. It can also come along with an increased body temperature, joint restriction, and pain.
  • Chronic Synovitis – Another form of synovitis, chronic synovitis is not as common as acute synovitis. It often comes along with fatigue when walking or aching pain and discomfort. 
  • Reactive Synovitis – A type of synovitis causing an increase in the volume of fluid in the joint, reactive synovitis often causes limited mobility. It’s not a common type of synovitis and often happens when something else is present, such as an allergic reaction. 
  • Post-traumatic Synovitis – The most common type of synovitis, post-traumatic synovitis is caused by abrasions, injuries, or cuts. When the synovium becomes damaged, the body reacts causing pain and swelling. 

Which Areas of the Body can Synovitis Affect?

Synovitis may be present anywhere in the body. It may happen in the knees, ankles, jaw, shoulders, hips, or wrists. It may also affect more than one of these regions at the same time, depending on the cause.

  • Synovitis Knee – The most common type of synovitis is found in the knees. This type of synovitis affects the bending of the knee and can make it hard to walk. It might come with shooting pain in the knee.
  • Synovitis Ankle – Synovitis in the ankle joint makes it hard to walk and may cause severe pain. It can cause you to limp as pressure is applied to the joint.
  • Synovitis Jaw – When inflammation happens in the temporomandibular joint, it can make movements, such as yawning or chewing painful. Synovitis in the jaw causes a radiating type of pain felt in the head, neck, and ears.
  • Synovitis Shoulder – Synovitis may affect both shoulders or just one of the shoulders. It can make it hard to raise your arms and perform even the simplest tasks. Pain is the main symptom of synovitis in the shoulder.
  • Synovitis Hip – The hips take on quite a bit of pressure as we walk and bend. Synovitis in the hips can be very painful and make it very difficult to walk or bend at the hips.
  • Synovitis Wrist – Inflammation found in the writs or synovitis of the wrist makes it hard to perform tasks with your hands. Lifting and writing may cause pain in the lower arm or the wrist.

Synovitis Symptoms

Joint pain is the main symptom of synovitis. The pain can be very severe and may feel a bit different depending on the joint. Visible evidence of the injury may also occur and may include swelling. 

While you might not feel severe pain, synovitis may also come with joint tenderness. you might feel hard lumps near the joints. If swelling is a part of your symptoms, it could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

Causes of Synovitis

Synovitis is linked to several other health issues within the joints. It can also be caused by trauma. Some of the most common causes of synovitis include:

  • Overuse or overworking of a joint with a repetitive motion
  • Blunt hit or direct injury from an accident
  • Gout, lupus, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Allergic reactions
  • Septic arthritis and tuberculosis

Synovitis is very common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The pain can be increased with both conditions.

How Synovitis is Diagnosed

Your doctor will start the diagnosis by trying to determine if the pain you’re feeling is in the joint itself or caused by an inflammation of the tendons. If the pain is found in the joints, it is likely synovitis. However, if it’s an inflammation of the tendons it’s called tendonitis. 

A physical exam is the first step in diagnosing the issue. A synovial Fluid Analysis may also be used to determine if you suffer from synovitis. Fluid from the synovial membranes will be tested to help with the diagnosis.

It’s also common for a doctor to order an MRI scan or a musculoskeletal ultrasound to help diagnose synovitis. A patella tap test can also be used to look for swelling around the muscle if the synovitis is found in the knee.

Synovitis Treatment

A prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs is common when treating synovitis. These drugs will help with the pain and selling. Your doctor might prescribe a steroid, corticosteroids, ibuprofen, or aspirin. 

If the pain is severe, your doctor may use a procedure to drain the synovial fluid to relieve the pain. This is most common when synovitis is found in the knee. However, this treatment is just temporary.

Other non-invasive treatment options include:

  • Applying Ice
  • applying Heat
  • Resting the joint
  • Using a brace or splint
  • Eating a soft food diet, if synovitis is found in the jaw

Surgery to Treat Synovitis

Surgical options are also used as a treatment for synovitis. The affected tissues can be removed or a portion of the synovium may be removed, as well. In the most severe cases, complete joint replacement surgery is an option.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Dr. Andrachuk provides extensive experience with diagnosing and treating synovitis in all joints. If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, or one of the other symptoms of synovitis, it’s time to seek medical help. Dr. Andrachuk provides both conservative treatment options and minimally invasive arthroscopic options to get you back to living your life. Contact us today and schedule your in-person or telemedicine appointment!