Hip > Synovitis > Treatments

   R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and Medication

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To properly cure hip synovitis, physicians generally prescribe a combination of the following treatments:

   Rest and activity modification – relative rest is generally prescribed. You do not necessarily have to stay off your feet, but you should decrease the duration and intensity of your walking and running. Switching from a running sport to swimming or cycling can reduce stress on your hip's synovial membrane. Changing to a softer exercise surface, like grass instead of concrete, can also help.

   Contact sports and activities that require twisting or side-to-side motion can cause irritation of the joint lining and usually should be avoided.

   Ice – applying ice to your hip for 15 minutes after walking or activities can help reduce the inflammation.

   Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like aspirin or ibuprofen, are sometimes prescribed to reduce pain and swelling.

   Take your temperature with a thermometer each day to check for bacterial or viral infections. Call your physician if your temperature rises above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

   Your physician may schedule a follow-up visit within 24 hours of the initial visit.

If a combination of the above treatments does not relieve your heel pain within about three months, your physician may prescribe corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroids have strong anti-inflammatory properties when injected directly into your hip. Some physicians may give you an injection earlier so you can start rehabilitation free of pain. However, it is important to be aware of the potentially dangerous side effects of corticosteroid injections. As with any type of injection into a joint, there is the risk of infection. In addition, in high or repetitive doses, corticosteroids may actually destroy the hip's articular cartilage and tendons.

Rehabilitation [top]

The most important component of rehabilitation for sufferers of synovitis is relative rest. This means modifying your workouts to avoid the activities that cause pain. For example, instead of walking or running, you could swim, bike, or rollerblade. You could reduce the intensity of your workout by using less resistance when you bike, or by eliminating hills from a running workout. Your physician and physical therapist may design a custom rehab program that will teach you strengthening exercises to stabilize your hip. Your physician can tell you whether you need to visit a therapist or perform exercises on your own. Depending on how serious you are about the relative rest and physical therapy, you may be able to return to a normal level of exercise in three to four weeks. However, the time it takes to return to activities is highly variable in individual patients based on your pain threshold and activity level. You may experience pain while engaged in physical activities, and it may set back your rehabilitation. The pain is usually felt during exercises, but can be even worse afterwards. If pain and swelling increase after stretching and strengthening exercises, cut back on the intensity and duration of your workout until you find a comfortable level. Many people can return to sports and activities between one and three months after beginning rehab exercises for synovitis.

Prevention [top]

The best way to prevent recurring synovitis is to properly treat the hip problem or disease that caused synovitis. You may be able to reduce your chances of recurring synovitis by avoiding a sudden increase in activities that require repetitive motion, such as cycling or using a stair-climbing machine. Easing into an exercise routine after synovitis can help reduce stress on the synovial membrane and help you avoid irritation. In the absence of other hip complications, the amount of caution you should use during activities to prevent synovitis from recurring depends on your age as follows:

   Children - synovitis usually does not hinder joint function after an injury. Once synovitis heals, it rarely returns.

   Adults - synovitis may signal that you have sustained some degree of cartilage damage. Becoming less involved in strenuous activities, like contact sports or long distance running, may help prevent future synovitis. But you do not need to avoid activities or be overly concerned with prevention unless the underlying cause of your synovitis was a severe disease or injury that warrants extra prevention measures.

   Seniors - synovitis may be more problematic later in life, harming the function of your hip joint, and you should continue to visit your physician for check-ups after your hip heals. Because synovitis is a common companion of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, you should strongly consider cutting back your activity level to avoid situations that could strain your hip joint.

Weight control is also important. Lightening the load on your hips helps them to function better. Once your synovitis has healed, building muscle strength around your hip can help you avoid further injury. You also may consider training with a physical therapist or coach to increase your balance and coordination, which can help decrease the chances of accidental falls.

R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and Medication
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