Accessibility Tools

Irritable Hip

What is an Irritable Hip?

Irritable hip, also known as acute transient synovitis, is a common disorder of childhood characterized by hip pain and limping. The term transient means that it does not last long. It usually occurs before puberty and affects only one hip. Boys aged between 4 to 10 years are most often affected.

Symptoms of an Irritable Hip

A child with irritable hip will experience the following symptoms:
  • Hip pain
  • Limping
  • Pain, which may spread to the groin, thigh and knee areas
  • Abnormal crawling
  • Abnormal crying
  • Slight fever

Causes of an Irritable Hip

The exact cause of an irritable hip is unknown. But in some cases, the condition can occur because of viral infection (upper respiratory tract), a fall or injury. An irritable hip can also occur because of Perthes disease, a condition where the head of the thighbone deteriorates because of poor blood supply.

Diagnosis of an Irritable Hip

The diagnosis of an irritable hip is made based on your child’s symptoms and a physical examination. To rule out other possible causes of your child’s symptoms, the following diagnostic tests may be ordered:
  • X-rays: detect any problem with your child’s bone
  • Blood tests: determine a bone or joint infection
  • Ultrasound scan: creates an image of the affected hip joint and detects any fluid in the joint

Treatments for Irritable Hip

The treatment of an irritable hip includes medications and bed rest. Painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe some specific medications depending on the type of infection detected in your child. Applying heat and massaging the affected hip may also help in reducing hip pain. Swimming is a great exercise to strengthen and regain the movement of the hip joint.