A guide to synovial tissue damage in the knee
Synovial tissue damage describes damage or inflammation of the synovium, which is a protective layer that helps lubricate the surfaces of joints throughout the body, including the knees. Also known as synovitis, synovial tissue damage can seriously impact the knees due to the large amount of stress and pressure they absorb on a daily basis.
Although injuries and conditions that affect the synovium can make it difficult to perform daily activities or take you away from hobbies and interests, there are effective treatments that can help manage symptoms. By learning more about synovial tissue damage, you can take a more proactive role in your care. Take some time to read over this helpful guide and get in touch with one of our representatives if you’d like to learn more.
What causes synovial tissue damage?
There are a wide range of causes for synovial tissue damage, including natural degeneration, injury and inflammatory diseases. The synovium, or synovial membrane, is a protective capsule that surrounds the ends of joint surfaces on bones. Inside is synovial fluid, which is critical for keeping the joints lubricated and enabling smooth motion. Synovial tissue damage in the knees can be caused by the following specific factors:
- Sports-related injuries to the knee, including sprains and strains
- Repetitive motion injuries, including bending and squatting
- Traumatic injury, such as a car accident or a fall
- Inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis
- Loose bone and cartilage fragments that become trapped
Inflammation and damage to the synovial tissue can lead to a number of painful and debilitating symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of synovial tissue damage in the knee
Because the synovium enables the joints to glide smoothly against each other, synovial tissue damage has a tendency to inhibit joint mechanics. Common signs of synovitis in the knees include:
- Joint pain in one or both knees
- Stiffness and locking of the knee
- Cracking and popping sensations known as crepitus
Synovial tissue damage symptoms are similar to other knee injuries and conditions, including tendinitis and osteoarthritis, which is why receiving a positive diagnosis from a qualified medical professional is so important.
Diagnosing synovial tissue damage
Patients seeking a diagnosis from a physician for any symptoms potentially related to synovial tissue damage should expect to undergo a thorough examination. After asking questions about specific symptoms and daily activities and reviewing you and your family’s medical history, your doctor will typically perform a physical examination to test for range of motion and identify painful areas and movements. Diagnostic testing, including X-ray and MRI is also a common part of the diagnostic process to see if there is tissue damage inside the synovium.
In some cases a specialist such as a rheumatologist may be required to confirm diagnosis if the sources of symptoms can’t be confirmed through regular methods.
Nonsurgical treatments for synovial tissue damage
Synovitis and any other condition causing synovial tissue damage typically begins with conservative nonsurgical treatments. The goal of treatment is to improve function, relieve any pain and prevent the condition from progressing any further. Common conservative treatments for this condition include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and inflammation
- Using cold compression to numb the area and lessen inflammation
- Periods of rest and elevation
- Getting regular exercise
- Physical therapy to strengthen the knee and mobilize soft tissue
- Improving posture to relieve pressure on the knee
- Corticosteroid injections into the synovium to improve pain and inflammation.
- Practicing a healthy lifestyle, including eating a nutrient-rich diet
- Antirheumatic medications, for some cases
In certain cases, patients whose synovial tissue damage does not respond to conservative treatments may be referred to a surgeon to explore surgical options.
Surgery for synovial tissue damage in the knee
For patients with severe synovial tissue damage, a surgical procedure to remove damaged tissue can help to improve knee function and relieve pain. This type of surgery can be performed with the use of an arthroscope, which is a small camera at the end of a thin flexible tube, as well as other microsurgical devices. These devices and minimally invasive techniques make it possible to perform knee surgeries on an outpatient basis. Patients recovering from these types of procedures at home will receive detailed instructions for resuming activities. Physical therapy can be a highly effective way to regain function and safely stay active during the rehabilitation phase.
Reach out to USA Spine Care today for more information
If you are suffering from knee pain that is potentially related to synovial tissue damage or synovitis, the experts at USA Spine Care can help. We’ll help you learn more about the treatment options we offer at our state-of-the-art facilities when you contact us today. We have a highly experienced team of expert treatment professionals. Our goal is to help you find relief and get back to the healthy and active lifestyle you’ve been missing.
Contact us today to learn more. Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.