The synovial membrane (sometimes referred to as the synovium) is the inner lining of the joint. This inner lining secretes synovial fluid to cushion the joints during movement. Synovium serves an important function in the joint capsules in the knee, ankle, wrist, elbow, hand, foot, and shoulder. But the synovium can become inflamed, causing a condition known as synovitis.
Synovitis can lead to various problems from tenderness to hypertrophy. Often the result of repeated joint bleeds, synovitis can worsen over time if not addressed appropriately, leading to even more bleeding into the joint.
Signs and symptoms of synovitis depend on what area of the body is affected. Typically, most people with synovitis will experience these symptoms:
- Joint pain that ranges from mild to severe
- Difficulty moving the affected area
- Thickening of the tissue
- Increased blood flow to the affected area
- Increased fluid production
There are lots of things that can cause synovitis. Sometimes, synovitis is caused by structural damage in the affected area. This can include things like articular cartilage damage, a labrum tear, or a tear in the ligamentum teres.
Other times, synovitis can be caused by diseases that affect the synovium. Rheumatologic diseases in particular such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus can mistakenly attack the synovium leading to inflammation.
Synovitis vs Arthritis: Is Synovitis the Same as Arthritis?
Yes and no. While synovitis and arthritis both have to do with joint inflammation, they have their differences.
Synovitis is a prominent inflammation of the joints in which the majority of the inflammation is in the synovium. Certain types of arthritis can affect the synovium, but many types of arthritis, cause little if any synovial inflammation.
Synovitis can go away on its own, but if the symptoms linger, treatment may be necessary.
Treatment for synovitis depends on the underlying cause. In most cases, treatments are geared to decrease inflammation, lessen swelling, and manage pain.
A popular treatment for synovitis is steroid injections in the affected joints. While steroid injections can help decrease inflammation, lessen swelling, and manage pain, it isn’t a cure.
If you experience a joint bleed more than three times in one month, contact your doctor. It’s likely that he or she will start a treatment plan that may include:
- Oral steroids
- Physical therapy
- Prophylactic treatment
- Arthroscopic synovectomy
- Radionuclide synovectomy
How to Prevent Synovitis
Preventing synovitis isn’t always possible, especially if a rheumatologic disease is an underlying cause. Still, you can prevent synovitis with a regular exercise routine and regular visits to your doctor. If you keep having bleeds in the same joint and you have had an HTC procedure (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation), give your doctor or specialist a call, and have the joint bleeds treated quickly.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’ve been feeling pain and discomfort beyond usual soreness, let us help you get back to doing the things you love. Contact us today.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.