Knee > Synovitis > Treatments

    Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Home Recovery

In addition to rest and ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can be used to reduce pain and inflammation caused by synovitis. These over-the-counter painkillers are typically prescribed when synovitis is not causing great discomfort. When necessary, these should be taken as directed on the bottle. It may be all right to take painkillers before activities to prevent pain, but be sure to check with your physician before making this a habit. Your physician may prescription-strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or Cox-2 inhibitors to reduce the symptoms associated with synovitis. Some patients may need to take painkillers daily, while others may only need painkillers when synovitis swelling flares up. Painkillers are typically prescribed when you experience too much pain to continue your activities. Physicians generally suggest you wait until the pain goes away before beginning rehabilitation.


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. Instead of riding a bike or running, you could swim or rollerblade instead. Or, you could reduce the intensity of your workout - for example, using less resistance when you ride, or eliminating hills from a running workout. Your physician and physical therapist can help design a custom rehabilitation program that will teach you strengthening exercises to stabilizing your knee. Depending on how serious you are about the relative rest and physical therapy, you may be able to return to a normal level of activity in three to four weeks. However, the time it takes to return to activities varies depending on your pain threshold and activity level.

Prevention [top]

The best way to prevent recurring synovitis is to properly treat the knee 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 knee 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 knee joint, and you should continue to visit your physician for check-ups after your knee 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 knee joint.
Weight control is also important. One extra pound of body weight translates into three or four pounds of weight across your knee every time you take a step. Lightening the load on your knees helps them to function better. Your physician may prescribe a lightweight knee brace to wear during sports that require side-to-side or twisting motions. You should also consider wearing kneepads during activities like in-line skating that put you at risk for falling.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
   Home Recovery
Anti-Inflammatory Medication (Steroids, Gold)
Activity Modification
R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Intra-Articular Corticosteroid Injection

Copyright 2007 | Insall Scott Kelly® Institute. All Rights Reserved.