Synovial Chondromatosis

By | June 10, 2022

Synovial chondromatosis is a disease that affects the large joints of the human body. Synovial chondromatosis is comparatively rare. The disease belongs to the category of so-called cartilage-forming metaplasias. So far, the exact causes of synovial chondromatosis are not known.

What is synovial chondromatosis?

Basically, synovial chondromatosis is a very rare disease of the joints. Studies of patients show that males suffer from synovial chondromatosis more often than females. In addition, the disease develops in the joints much more frequently in adults than in childhood patients. For what are corns, please visit

In the majority of cases, synovial chondromatosis develops in the area of ​​the large joints. These primarily include the hip, shoulder and knee joints. Synovial chondromatosis occurs with slightly less frequency in the joints of the jaw and elbow. In principle, chondromas are new formations of cartilage tissue of a benign nature.

In the context of synovial chondromatosis, such chondromas develop in the area of ​​the inner skin on the capsules of the large joints. Many small cartilage nodules develop around the bones of the joint. Medicine distinguishes two different forms of synovial chondromatosis.

The triggering factors of primary chondromatosis have not yet been researched. On the other hand, the cause of the secondary form of the disease may lie in minimal injuries to the membranes of the joint capsules. Other diseases of the joints, both inflammatory and others, may also promote the development of synovial chondromatosis.


The exact causes and mechanisms of the pathogenesis of synovial chondromatosis are currently being researched. Reliable statements about the background of the development of the rare disease of the joints are not possible at the present time. In particular, the causes of the primary type of synovial chondromatosis are still largely unclear.

With regard to the secondary form of the disease, various assumptions amount to the importance of micro-injuries to the membranes of the joint capsules. There also seems to be a connection to other joint diseases in this case.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

In most cases, the symptoms of synovial chondromatosis only appear in an advanced stage of the disease. On the other hand, the affected patients are often almost symptom-free for a relatively long time at the beginning of the synovial chondromatosis. Basically, the disease involves metaplasia of certain types of cells that form in specific areas of articular cartilage.

Men suffer significantly more often than female patients from synovial chondromatosis, i.e. with about twice the frequency. It is very rare for children to develop synovial chondromatosis. In most patients, the large joints of the knees, hips or shoulders are affected. Sometimes the complaints also develop on the elbows and in the area of ​​the jawbones.

There are usually hardly any symptoms at the beginning of synovial chondromatosis. Only later does the synovial chondromatosis become increasingly noticeable through symptoms. The sick people are restricted in their movements, for example, or suffer from pain.

These usually result directly from free components in the area of ​​the joint and the chondromas themselves. Sometimes other structures and elements of the affected joint are affected because the chondromas rub off the material.

Diagnosis & course of disease

The problem with the diagnosis of synovial chondromatosis is the fact that in many cases the disease is only noticed relatively late by the people affected. Synovial chondromatosis often shows no symptoms for several years, but continues to progress. For this reason, the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage of synovial chondromatosis.

The orthopedist is a suitable contact person for people with a suspicion of synovial chondromatosis and joint diseases in general. In the patient consultation, he discusses the clinical picture against the background of the patient’s lifestyle. It is important to consider possible chronic diseases of the patient as well as any existing overweight. The age of those affected also plays an important role.

The clinical examination of synovial chondromatosis ultimately leads to the diagnosis of the disease. Typical symptoms such as pain and swelling in the large joints indicate synovial chondromatosis. Sometimes the bones touch at the joints, resulting in severe pain. The doctor must carry out an X- ray examination. Synovial chondromatosis can be diagnosed relatively early with a CT scan.


In most cases, the symptoms of this disease appear relatively late, so that early diagnosis and treatment are usually not possible. Patients suffer from pain or swelling in the affected regions.

This leads to restrictions in movement and thus also in everyday life. Many patients are therefore dependent on the help of other people and can no longer easily carry out everyday activities or sports. The pain often also occurs at night and can thus lead to difficulty sleeping or to depression and irritability in the patient. The quality of life is significantly restricted and reduced.

It can also permanently damage the joints if the condition is not treated. In most cases, this condition requires surgery. However, there are no special complications or other complaints. This can completely eliminate the symptoms.

However, even after successful treatment, many patients depend on therapies to restore movement in the affected regions. Life expectancy is not affected or otherwise reduced by the disease.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the person concerned suffers from disorders of the hip, shoulder or knee joints, he should continue to monitor the incidents. If there are one-off reactions to overload, there is already a significant improvement within a few hours of rest and protection. If, after a restful night’s sleep, there is complete and lasting freedom from symptoms, in most cases a doctor is not required. In everyday life, however, the physical strain should be adapted to the requirements of the organism in the future in order to avoid a repetition of the inconveniences.

If the symptoms continue unabated even after a sufficient period of rest or if they increase in scope and intensity, a doctor is needed. Restrictions in joint activity, a decrease in the usual physical capacity and pain must be examined and treated. If the usual sporting or professional activities can no longer be carried out without symptoms, medical help should be sought to clarify the cause.

If additional mental problems and irregularities occur due to the physical limitations, a doctor must also be consulted. There is a risk of secondary diseases that lead to a significant impairment of well-being in the long term. If the demands of everyday life can no longer be managed independently, if there are behavioral problems or if the person concerned suffers from a decrease in their quality of life, they need medical help.

Treatment & Therapy

Early diagnosis of synovial chondromatosis is important because in exceptional cases the cells of the articular cartilage degenerate as a result of the disease. In addition, a so-called secondary chondrosarcoma sometimes develops. Synovial chondromatosis is usually treated by surgical intervention. The free structures on the joint are removed. The damaged inner skin is also removed.

In addition, measures are taken to prevent abrasion of the articular cartilage. In some cases, the joint is so damaged by synovial chondromatosis that a replacement joint is necessary. This is used as part of a surgical procedure. The subsequent physiotherapeutic care supports the mobility of the corresponding joint.


Measures to prevent synovial chondromatosis have hardly been identified so far, since the causes are largely unknown.


Synovial chondromatosis is one of the rare bone diseases with a low prevalence. It can sometimes promote malignant sequelae. For this reason alone, regular checks are necessary. They are done by an orthopedist. In addition, pain-relieving drugs are administered during aftercare. This increases the patient’s quality of life.

First, a differential diagnosis must be made. The symptoms are similar to those of arthritis. Surgical treatment (synovialectomy) is advisable for synovial chondromatosis. The cartilaginous joint mass is removed. The patient can then move the joint more easily again. During aftercare, the healing process is monitored by a doctor.

If necessary, the patient is given painkillers. After successful healing, the follow-up care ends with discharge from the clinic. The family doctor can also carry out occasional follow-up checks. An orthopaedist brings with him even more targeted expertise. Synovial chondromatosis is a benign disease but not entirely treatable.

Symptoms such as restricted mobility can only be kept as low as possible. The disease is also considered a risk factor for bone cancer. Aftercare must go beyond the time of an operation in order to detect malignant tissue changes at an early stage. In parallel, several benign tumors can form into one large one. In this case, an intervention is required (again).

You can do that yourself

Synovial chondromatosis can be alleviated in everyday life through physical relief and physiotherapy. In the case of the typical disorders of the joints, the patients should definitely observe the other complaints. This enables early detection of new problems.

In the event of an acute overload, a rest phase is helpful. Adequate rest reduces the pain and discomfort. Sufficient sleep and an adapted lifestyle help to cope with everyday life and reduce the symptoms of the disease. A certain serenity is very important in this context in order to combat the irritability caused by the illness. A change in work and leisure activities may be necessary to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.

If psychological problems arise in connection with the restrictions, patients should consult a doctor. This checks whether there is a risk of a secondary disease. In addition to medical support, there is the opportunity to get in touch with other affected people. Psychotherapeutic care can also help to cope with the difficult life situation.

Although weight loss and healthy foods reduce physical stress, this effect cannot be precisely predicted. Sufficient rest and a certain amount of caution in everyday activities protect the organism and have a positive effect on the quality of life.

Synovial Chondromatosis