Passionate About Boston
and the Moms Who Live Here

Toxic Synovitis :: Scary Name, Scary Symptoms, Common Condition {Guest Post}

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For (new) moms like me who aren’t aware of every single diagnosis or disease out there, this post will hopefully help save you the shock, worry, and uncertainty of toxic synovitis. The name alone is scary for sure — and the symptoms can be as well. With all the worries and uncertainties that come with motherhood, now this? Yes.

Let me back up. I have identical twin boys, Conor and Caden, who are a little over 1 year old. We live in Massachusetts and have a pretty good routine each day, especially now that we have pushed through and survived the first year. One morning, we all woke up, dressed ourselves for the day, ate breakfast, dropped the boys off at daycare, and ventured to work — like any typical morning.

I received a call from daycare a few hours later and heard, “Caden isn’t walking anymore. He won’t put any pressure or weight on his right leg.” My heart sank. I didn’t know what could have happened. Like any other scary/unknown situation, you think about every detail of the last few days. What did he have to eat? Did he fall? Was he exposed to something new? Was he stung by a bee? It was strange. I almost hoped he had been stung by a bee — because anything else seemed too scary to fathom.

I immediately left work and quickly made my way to daycare. I examined him from head to toe; I looked at his feet, legs, knees, hips, you name it. I then rotated his feet, ankles, toes, and legs to see if he would wince in pain. He didn’t. When he was lying down, he was actually smiling and happy. The only difference was that when he tried to take a step, he couldn’t. I tried to stay as calm as possible. I brought him home, called the doctor, and booked the first available sick appointment. What was going on with my child???   

Toxic synovitis.

That was his diagnosis. Naturally, I texted friends and family and asked if they were familiar with toxic synovitis. No one had heard of it before. So I Googled it and found this excerpt and list of symptoms from the Kids Health website:

“Toxic synovitis has a scary name, but it’s not a scary condition. This temporary inflammation of the hip can cause limping and pain in the hip and leg. This can be unpleasant for a child and unsettling for a parent — especially when symptoms start suddenly — but toxic synovitis usually goes away within a week or two, and causes no long-term problems.”

When kids have toxic synovitis, the pain starts suddenly and usually is only on one side of the body. Other signs to look for include:

  • a recent viral infection, such as a cold or stomach virus
  • low-grade fever (up to 101°F [38°C])
  • limping with toes turned outward, the knee bent or straightened
  • walking on tiptoes
  • hip discomfort that happens after a long period of resting the joint (such as sitting in a car or at a desk, or watching TV)
  • knee or thigh pain with no hip pain
  • in younger children, crying
  • in some cases, a refusal to walk

To substantiate those signs and symptoms, particularly related to Caden’s specific situation, he had a head cold/runny nose a day prior to the incident. And he was waking in the night (which I assumed was part of his head cold) a few times that week. For me, a full-time working mom with two 1-year-olds, it’s pretty easy to overlook these minor things that happen frequently. But, as it turns out, Caden had a pretty serious reaction to that specific virus and, thus, put mommy in panic mode.

So FYI to all you moms out there — it’s actually pretty common! If your child is experiencing these symptoms after having a virus, bring him or her to the doctor and ask about toxic synovitis.

Later that afternoon, Caden was back to normal… thank goodness.

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My name is Sharon — but everyone calls me Shaz. I have identical twin boys, Conor and Caden. They were born in May 2014 in Washington, DC. I am so thrilled we are back home in Massachusetts to enjoy them with family. I married my high school sweetheart, Jimbo.

I LOVE to cook. I enjoy pairing different courses with various flavorful wines. I do a lot of that in my blog shazbythesea.blogspot.comMy blog originally focused on cooking when I began two years ago. Now Conor and Caden have completely taken over… and I love it.


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