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Synovial fluid effusion: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Joint effusion, synovial fluid leakage, or suffering from fluid in the knee , are some of the names that this joint problem receives. The most common synovial fluid effusion is from the knee, which is, at the same time, the one most commonly seen. However, the elbows, hips, as well as other joints, can also suffer from synovial fluid leakage.

Joints, whatever they are, are essential for us to move our body, whether at work, while walking or doing physical exercise. Apart from the cartilage and other tissues that surround the joint, one of its essential elements and without which its use would be impossible, is the so-called synovial fluid or synovium. Don’t miss this FastlyHealarticle if you want to know everything about synovial fluid leakage , as well as its causes, symptoms and treatment.

What is synovial fluid

The synovial fluid or synovial fluid is a clear, viscous fluid, whose consistency is similar to egg white, which is in the joints of the body. Its high content of hyaluronic acid favors the maintenance and nutrition of cartilage and other adjacent tissues in good condition to allow greater mobility and durability of the joint.

Synovial fluid function

Its main function is to avoid friction and, with it, the wear of the cartilage involved in the movement of the joint.

It also serves to keep cartilage clean , eliminating possible debris that may appear and, due to its composition, prevents the proliferation of bacteria unless there is an infection.

Causes of synovial fluid leakage

Synovial fluid is produced in the so-called synovial membrane and normally our body produces it in very small amounts. There are various causes that cause an increase in this liquid and its consequent spillage, such as:

  • Infections : Some infections can cause synovial fluid leakage, specifically a so-called septic arthritis.
  • Joint problems: if we have joint problems we can be prone to suffering from these types of illnesses.
  • Trauma : if we have had an accident or suffered a blow in any type of physical activity.
  • Rheumatic diseases : we talk mainly about reactive arthritis. This type of arthritis can lead to synovial fluid in the knee or other type of joint.
  • Osteoarthritis : in these cases there is constant friction between the joints, which makes us prone to synovial fluid leakage.

Any type of process in which an inflammation has been caused, the amount produced by the synovial membrane increases considerably, which produces joint or synovial fluid effusions.

Symptoms of Synovial Fluid Effusion

When we have a synovial fluid effusion, the most frequent symptoms include:

  • Pain : especially when we try to move the joint.
  • Decreased mobility : having swollen joints, we cannot move our body too much.
  • General malaise : as with any other disease or illness, the body suffers and the body feels weak and tired.
  • Fever : in the event of a fever, it is best to go to the emergency room immediately, because there may be some type of infection.

However, in the face of any other anomaly not mentioned here, it is better to go to the doctor quickly and be evaluated by a professional.

Treatment for synovial fluid effusion

In these cases, we must consult a traumatologist, who will indicate the procedure to follow. It is usually advisable to apply ice to the joint , keep the limb elevated, and put a compression bandage on it.

If the traumatologist sees it necessary, he will do a joint puncture to extract the spilled fluid.

How is a joint puncture done

Joint puncture basically consists of extracting the spilled fluid from the joint in question using a syringe. The normal color of this liquid will be canary yellow , but it could be the case that it comes out with blood, which would be a bad sign that the doctor or specialist should investigate.

Synovial fluid effusion recovery time

The recovery time from a synovial fluid spill will depend on each individual case, but this is the average time:

  • If the extraction of the liquid is not necessary : in this case, with the correct care, the spill should be solved in about 14 or 21 days.
  • If the fluid is removed : If the synovial fluid were removed , the joint in question would improve practically immediately.

However, each case is different, and depending on the reason why you have this problem, it may or may not reappear.

If you liked this article on synovial fluid leakage, you may also be interested in this other article on Knee Bursitis .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Synovial fluid spill: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints and Muscles .

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