Synovial fluid is a thick, straw-colored substance that lubricates your joints.

Like the oil in your car reduces friction in your engine, this synovial fluid minimizes the friction in your joints; it helps your bones glide past each other when you bend, extend, and rotate.

Synovial fluid allows the 300 joints in your body to move smoothly. Its egg-white consistency thickens under pressure to provide shock absorption. But that’s not all it does. Synovial fluid supplies nutrients to the joint and removes waste products created regenerating bone cells.

When your fluid is low, it can stop the movement.

But that is not the only condition that makes movement painful. When synovial fluid becomes too thick or too thin, it cannot provide the correct lubrication to protect the joints, which can lead to cartilage damage and osteoarthritis.

Changes in the synovial fluid cause pain for people of all ages.

Synovial osteochondromatosis is a rare condition typically affecting the knees. Also known as synovial chondromatosis, the disease causes abnormal, non-cancerous cartilage growth. As the nodules grow, they can break off and float in and around the ends of the bones, causing pain when they block the joint’s movement.

People suffering from the pain of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis often have abnormalities in their synovial fluid.

There are conditions that also affect children.

Approximately, 3 percent of children between 3 and 10 years of age suffer from transient synovitis. This condition occurs after a child has had a viral infection. The virus seems to move through the body to settle in the synovial fluid surrounding the joints.

Symptoms include increasing joint pain that causes the child to limp and, in some cases, stop walking. The symptoms may occur gradually or appear suddenly and often move from place to place.

Transient synovitis can be scary for parents since there’s no apparent fever or reason for the pain, limping or inability to walk. The condition typically affects the right side of the body and occurs in boys twice as often as girls.

Unfortunately, transient synovitis is often diagnosed after x-rays and other diagnostic tests rule out more serious conditions such as injury, arthritis, or septic synovitis, which can be life-threatening.

Transient synovitis usually clears within a week or two without long-term side effects.

If your child complains of joint pain that limits movement, see your pediatrician or an orthopedic specialist.

Eating the right foods can help you maintain the right fluid levels.

Whether you are young or old, a healthy diet full of antioxidants can help you maintain or increase your synovial fluid levels.

It’s another reason to eat leafy greens, bright-colored fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids; they nourish your joints and keep your synovial fluid healthy.

Add foods high in allicin like onions and garlic, and fermented foods like yogurt and kefir and your joints will thank you.