Dr. Alan Greene on Toxic Synovitis

What could cause my baby to break out in a rash and his leg to go numb?


My 2-year-old is very active. Recently, his right leg went numb and it traveled up his right side to his face. Before that occurred, he had a red rash on his feet that also traveled all over his body except for his private areas. We've been to a number of doctors with no luck but lots of pills. Help!


When kids at that age limp, it is usually wise to have a blood test and an imaging study of the leg to get an idea what is going on.

One of the most common causes of limp and rash is something called toxic synovitis. Toxic synovitis of the hip is the most common form of arthritis in children. It appears suddenly, disappears suddenly, and causes no lasting problems. Thus, it is often called transient synovitis. It typically follows viral infections, and may be caused by the body's immune response to the virus. For this reason, it is often called postinfectious arthritis. Many viruses can lead to some type of postinfectious arthritis, including adenovirus, chickenpox, CMV, or coxsackievirus.


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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