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Acute transient synovitis of the hip (irritable hip)


Acute transient synovitis of the hip is an inflammation of the hip joint, appearing frequently in the aftermath of a viral infection: a viral arthritis. This benign childhood disease, affects mainly boys between the ages of 3 and 5, but can occur up to the age of 10. It appears seasonally, mainly in winter and spring.


The symptoms of irritable hip are:
  • a pain in both hips;
  • limitation of movement of the hip;
  • lameness;
  • an inability to walk;
  • an absent of or very mild fever.


The diagnosis is made in the presence of a recent viral infection. Frequently, in the weeks preceding the onset of symptoms, parents will remember postnasal drip or other infectious diseases contracted by their child. In case of doubt, a radiograph of the pelvis and hip is done, and more rarely an ultrasound, coupled with a test often showing normal blood counts. In the case of non-improvement after a week of evolution, a scan will be considered.


Treatment consists of bed rest and the taking of anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesics. Evolution is generally favorable, with spontaneous disappearance within a week.