Hip Joint Effusion in Children
Hip joint effusion is a buildup of fluid in the hip joint. The hip joint is where the upper leg bone (femur) attaches to the hip bone (pelvic bone). The hip joint is a closed space. The lining of the hip joint (synovium) makes a lubricating fluid, which helps the top of the femur move easily in its socket in the pelvic bone.
If fluid builds up inside your child’s hip joint, it can cause stiffness and pain in his or her hip. Your child may complain of pain or may refuse to walk. You may notice that your child is limping. Mild cases of hip joint effusion may be treated with rest and medicine, but some children may need emergency care in the hospital. Some children may also need surgery.
What are the causes?
Common causes of this condition include:
- Inflammation caused by an infection. This may start in the bones of the hip (osteomyelitis) or in the joint (septic arthritis).
- Painful inflammation of the tissues around the hip joint (transient synovitis). This may occur after a viral illness.
What increases the risk?
This condition is more likely to develop in:
- A child who has had a recent injury.
- A child who has had a recent infection.
- A child who has transient synovitis, which is a condition that:
- Is more common in boys than in girls.
- Occurs most often in children who are 3–10 years old.
What are the signs or symptoms?
Symptoms of this condition include:
- Complaining of pain in the groin, hip, thigh, or knee.
- Walking with a limp.
- Avoiding standing on the affected leg.
- Avoiding moving the affected hip.
How is this diagnosed?
This condition may be diagnosed based on:
- Your child’s symptoms.
- A physical exam. The health care provider may watch your child walk to check how well your child’s hip moves and whether moving the hip is painful.
- Your child may also have other tests, including:
- A blood test to check for signs of infection and inflammation.
studies, such as:
- Bone scan.
- A procedure to remove fluid from the joint (aspiration) to be tested in a lab. Your child may need this procedure if his or her health care provider believes that an infection is present.
How is this treated?
Treatment for this condition depends on the cause of your child’s hip joint effusion.
- Hip joint effusion that is caused by transient synovitis is treated with rest and medicine. Your child may need to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help fight swelling and pain.
- Hip joint effusion that is caused by infection needs immediate
medical care in a hospital. Treatment may include:
- Removal (aspiration) of fluid.
- Antibiotic medicines given through an IV.
- Surgery to drain joint fluid.
Follow these instructions at home:
- Give over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by
your child’s health care provider.
- If your child is supposed to take NSAIDs, give them exactly as directed.
- If your child was prescribed an antibiotic medicine, give it as told by the child’s health care provider. Do not stop giving the antibiotic even if your child starts to feel better.
- Do not give your child aspirin because of the association with Reye syndrome.
- Do not give any other medicines to your child unless his or her health care provider approves.
- If your child is taking prescription pain medicine, take actions
to prevent or treat constipation. Your child’s health care provider may
recommend that your child:
- Drink enough fluid to keep his or her urine pale yellow.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Limit foods that are high in fat and processed sugars, such as fried or sweet foods.
- Take an over-the-counter or prescription medicine for constipation.
- Have your child rest as told by your child’s health care provider.
- Your child should avoid all activity until his or her health care provider says it is safe. Ask your child’s health care provider what activities are safe for your child.
- Help your child with walking if he or she feels weak or unsteady.
- Your child may return to his or her normal diet.
- Keep all follow-up visits as told by your child’s health care provider. This is important.
Contact a health care provider if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child’s symptoms do not improve after 10 days.
- Your child’s symptoms return after pain medicine is stopped.
Get help right away if:
- Your child has a fever and joint pain that is getting worse.
- Hip joint effusion is a buildup of fluid in the hip joint.
- Your child may complain of pain or may refuse to walk.
- Mild cases of hip joint effusion may be treated with rest and medicine, but some children may need emergency care in the hospital. Some children may also need surgery.
- Follow instructions from your child’s health care provider about medicines, diet, activity restrictions, and follow-up care.