Synovitis is the medical term for inflammation of the synovial membrane. This membrane lines joints that possess cavities, known as synovial joints. The condition is usually painful, particularly when the joint is moved. The joint usually swells due to synovial fluid collection.
Synovitis may occur in association with arthritis as well as lupus, gout, and other conditions. Synovitis is more commonly found in rheumatoid arthritis than in other forms of arthritis, and can thus serve as a distinguishing factor, although it is also present in many joints affected with osteoarthritis. Long term occurrence of synovitis can result in degeneration of the joint.
Synovitis causes joint tenderness or pain, swelling and hard lumps, called nodules. When associated with rheumatoid arthritis, swelling is a better indicator than tenderness.
Synovitis symptoms can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs. An injection of steroids may be done, directly into the affected joint. Specific treatment depends on the underlying cause of the synovitis.