Physical Therapy Treatment for Knee Synovitis

Physical Therapy Treatment for Knee Synovitis


Synovial joints are a group of joints that include all the large joints present in the body. The membrane, which surrounds these joints, is called the synovial membrane and is responsible for secreting fluids that aids in lubrication. 
When there is an inflammation in this lining, there is stiffness and pain in the joint of the knee. This condition is called knee synovitis. Synovitis as an ailment can occur independently or as a consequence or symptom of other conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis or gout. It can also occur due to cancer or any injury to the knee joint.

Physical therapy for Knee synovitis

Treatment for knee synovitis is highly dependent on its cause and symptoms. However, a common treatment procedure adopted for synovitis is R.I.C.E.

  • Rest

Rest is the first step towards treating knee synovitis. Even during physiotherapy sessions, therapists suggest taking rest in frequent intervals.

  • Ice

Ice packs are used to reduce inflammation in the area. Thus, ice packs are applied in the knee for about 20 minutes within every three to four hours.

  • Compression

Compression is done with the help of a knee sleeve that not only helps in compression but also helps in reducing the swelling. The type of sleeve that is used for knee synovitis is a sleeve without “donut” i.e. without a hole.

  • Elevation

Elevation reduces swelling by dispersing excess fluids away from the injured area. For this purpose, the knee is elevated above the level of heart.

Apart from R.I.C.E, other methods practiced for curing synovitis include exercises, heat therapy, cold therapy, manual therapy and gait training. When pain and inflammation at the acute stages of synovitis have been overcome, heat therapy is used more aggressively. This involves the use of moist heat packs to relieve joint pain and stiffness to increase blood flow in the injured area. Ultrasound is also used to produce circulatory changes.

Once swelling has been reduced to minimum, the focus shifts from therapies to stretching exercises. These exercises aim at restoring full range motion of the affected joint. Exercises to control weight are also adopted. This helps in reducing the load on the knee. The most common form of exercise that is suggested for knee synovitis is splinting.

As an independent ailment, knee synovitis is not a major problem. However, it is important to note that the occurrence of knee synovitis independently is rare. It is often a secondary condition, caused by another ailment. Thus, diagnosis and rehabilitation of knee synovitis at its early stages is essential.