moving me forward™

Your movement may be limited, but your options don't have to be. See how other patients conquered their pain and get started on your own journey to recovery.


Shoulder joints are held together by a "capsule" of tissues and ligaments. The innermost tissue of the capsule is a membrane called the synoviumsynoviumThe inner membrane of a joint capsule surrounding a freely movable joint..

The synovial membrane secretes a clear fluid called synovial fluidsynovial fluidA lubricating fluid resembling the white of an egg, secreted by certain membranes, as those of the joints; als... that lubricates jointjointThe junction between the ends of two adjacent bones. surfaces and provides the cartilagecartilageThe hard, thin layer of white glossy tissue that covers the end of bone at a joint. This tissue allows motion ... with nutrients. Sometimes this capsule becomes inflamed. The result is the painful condition called synovitis.

Here's what happens when synovitis occurs:

what causes synovitis? who‘s at risk?

Synovitis is associated with certain diseases that raise the risk of inflammationinflammationA local response to injury due to a physical reaction (such as abrasion), or to chemical or biological agents,.... They include:

Synovitis can also be caused by injury to the shoulder joints, which respond with inflammation. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.

how is synovitis diagnosed and treated?

Warm, swollen shoulder joints can be an indicator of synovitis. The shoulder may be painful both at rest and with movement. If synovitis is suspected, the physician may withdraw a sample of synovial fluid from the shoulder joint to send to a laboratory to test for infection or the crystals that indicate gout.

Treatment depends on the cause of the synovitis. It is likely to include anti-inflammatory medications, oral steroids, or cortisone steroid injections.

In some cases, your physician may recommend surgical removal of the inflamed synovium. If appropriate, the surgerysurgeryThe branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease, injury, and deformity by operation or manipula... may be the minimally invasive surgeryminimally invasive surgerySurgery requiring small incision(s), usually performed with endoscopic visualization. called arthroscopy.

what can patients expect long term?

Conservative treatment with anti-inflammatories may help symptoms and give the shoulder a chance to heal. Individuals with long-lasting synovitis, including individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, may need further care.