Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis


Juvenile arthritis is the term used to describe arthritis in children. Children can get arthritis just like adults. Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints. A joint is where two or more bones are joined together. Its also called Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Arthritis causes

● Pain.

● Swelling.

● Stiffness.

● Loss of motion.

The most common type of arthritis in children is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (idiopathic means “from unknown causes”). There are several other forms of arthritis affecting children.

Juvenile arthritis is a rheumatic disease or one that causes loss of function due to an inflamed supporting structure or structures of the body. Some rheumatic diseases also can involve internal organs.

Commonly Associated With

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA); Juvenile chronic polyarthritis; Still disease; Juvenile spondyloarthritis; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)


The cause of Juvenile spondyloarthritis is not known. It is thought to be an autoimmune illness. This means the body attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.

JIA most often develops before age 16. Symptoms may start as early as 6 months old.

The International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) has proposed the following way of grouping this type of childhood arthritis:

• Systemic-onset JIA. Involves joint swelling or pain, fevers, and rash. It is the least common type but it can be the most severe. It appears to be different than the other types of JIA and is similar to Adult Onset Stills Disease.

• Polyarthritis. Involves many joints. This form of JIA may turn into rheumatoid arthritis. It may involve 5 or more large and small joints of the legs and arms, as well as the jaw and neck. Rheumatoid factor may be present.

• Oligoarthritis (persistent and extended). Involves 1 to 4 joints, most often the wrists, or knees. It also affects the eyes.

• Enthesitis-related arthritis. Resembles spondyloarthritis in adults and often involves the sacroiliac joint.

• Psoriatic arthritis. Diagnosed in children who have arthritis and psoriasis or nail disease, or a have close family member with psoriasis.


• Swollen, red, or warm joint

• Limping or problems using a limb

• Sudden high fever, which may come back

• Rash (on trunk and extremities) that comes and goes with fever

• Stiffness, pain, and limited movement of a joint

Low back pain that does not go away

• Bodywide symptoms such as pale skin, swollen lymph gland, and a sick appearance

JIA can also cause eye problems called uveitis, iridocyclitis, or iritis. There may be no symptoms. When eye symptoms occur, they can include:

• Red eyes

• Eye pain, which may get worse when looking at the light (photophobia)

• Vision changes


Doctors who treat arthritis in children will try to make sure your child can remain physically active. They also try to make sure your child can stay involved in social activities and have an overall good quality of life.

Doctors can prescribe treatments to reduce swelling, maintain joint movement, and relieve pain. They also try to prevent, identify, and treat problems that result from arthritis. Most children with arthritis need a blend of treatments – some treatments include medicines.

Researchers are also trying to improve current treatments and find new medicines that will work better with fewer side effects.


The physical exam may show swollen, warm, and tender joints that hurt to move. The child may have a rash.

Other signs include:

• Swollen liver

• Swollen spleen

• Swollen lymph nodes

Blood tests may include:

• Rheumatoid factor

• Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

• Antinuclear antibody (ANA)

• Complete blood count (CBC)

• HLA-B27

Any or all of these blood tests may be normal in children with JIA.

The health care provider may place a small needle into a swollen joint to remove the fluid. This can help to find the cause of arthritis. It can also help relieve pain. The provider may inject steroids into the joint to help reduce swelling.

Other tests that may be done include:

• X-ray of a joint

• Bone scan

• X-ray of the chest


• Regular eye exam by an ophthalmologist — This should be done even if there are no eye symptoms.


Courtesy of MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine