This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This affection consists in an inflammation of the synovial or lining membrane of a joint. It is indicated by enlargement of the affected joint. The disease may occur in either the acute or the chronic form.
In many cases, improvement of the general health by proper hygienic treatment is essential. The best remedies for chronic synovitis are rest, fomentations, alternate hot and cold applications to the joint, hot leg baths, and manipulations of the joint, with inunction. Attention should also be given to the muscles of the affected limb, which are likely to undergo wasting in these diseases. This tendency may be counteracted by the daily employment of massage and general faradization. The eminent Dr. Metzger depends almost wholly upon manipulations of the joint and limb, rubbing upon the sides of the joint about the knee-cap, and from the feet upward, so as to stimulate the circulation and promote absorption. Some form of unguent, as sweet oil, vaseline, lard, or fresh butter, should be used, so as to avoid irritation of the skin and facilitate the manipulation.. The various liniments recommended for this disease owe their efficiency almost entirely to the rubbing with which they are applied. The plaster-of-Paris bandage is an excellent means of securing rest to the joint.
In cases in which there is little or no pain, the elastic bandage is very useful for promoting absorption by compression. The bandage should be applied from the foot upward, so that it may not interrupt the circulation in the lower part of the leg. Care should be taken to bend the joint daily, so as to prevent permanent stiffness. If this is done at the same time that traction is being made upon the limb, no pain will be given nor harm done. As soon as the swelling and tenderness are entirely removed, so that there remains only thickening of the tissues about the joint, the patient should be instructed to begin using the limb moderately, increasing the exercise from day to day as he can without exciting inflammation. If the swelling increases slightly by exercise, the joint should be given rest again for a few days, and then the exercise resumed.