What Is Synovitis?


Quick Answer

Synovitis is an inflammation of the synovial membrane, which is the membrane that lines the joints, explains MedicineNet.com. The area is often painful on motion and there is swelling due to buildup of fluid in the synovial sac, according to HealthCentral.

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Synovitis is often present in patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus and juvenile arthritis, reports HealthCentral. It is also associated with gout, rheumatic fever, tuberculosis and trauma.

The main symptom of synovitis is swelling in the joint, according to HealthCentral. The joint feels puffy to the touch. There is increased blood flow in the area, which makes the joint warm. There is also pain and irritation in the area due to the release of enzymes into joint spaces. If left untreated for a long time, the enzymes may eventually digest the bones and cartilage in the joint, leading to degenerative changes and chronic pain.

Synovial fluid analysis helps to diagnose synovitis, according to HealthCentral. This test examines a sample of synovial fluid for infection and crystals. The doctor may inject a corticosteroid preparation after collecting the synovial fluid sample. Treatment of synovitis involves corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin. Specific treatments may depend on whether the cause of the disease is arthritis, gout or an infection.

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