Updated 16 November 2015

What is synovitis?

Synovitis is more commonly known as hip inflammation and is sometimes caused by what is called a labral tear.


Here are 10 quick facts about synovitis and labral tears:

  • Joint, tendon and muscle problems tend to affect people who spend a lot of time sitting or standing in one position, and people who overwork specific muscle groups such as athletes, dancers or factory workers.
  • Inflammation, pain, stiffness, weakness and a decreased range of motion are all symptoms of joint, tendon and muscle problems.
  • When inflammation occurs in a joint, fluid may accumulate inside the joint, causing swelling and decreased range of motion.
  • Labral tears are fairly rare and refer to ruptures in the fibrocartilage around the rim of the pelvis socket.
  • Labral tears often occur with other conditions in the hip, such as synovitis or osteoarthritis and can easily reoccur, especially in people engaged in activities that involve running, twisting or jumping.
  • Not all labral tears require surgery, but those which do often occur with other injuries such as hip dislocations or fractures.
  • There are two ways of treating a labral tear: arthroscopy and open labral surgery.
  • Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that is done using a fibre-optic instrument with a lighted tip.
  • Open labral surgery involves making a large incision to expose the soft tissues and bones of the hip. Obviously the recovery time with this procedure would be much longer than in the case of arthroscopy.

(Sources: Cedars-Sinai Resource, Natural

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Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

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