Generally, when a child complains about occasional achy joints, it is dismissed as having “growing pains,” a natural phenomenon believed to be due to natural growth process. But, when symptoms of pain, stiffness or fevers occur at odd times, without apparent cause, could this mean Juvenile Arthritis?
What is Juvenile Arthritis?
Juvenile arthritis is a joint disease with a typical sign of inflammation (swelling) of the synovium (a specialized connective tissue that lines the inner surface of synovial joints) in children aged 16 or younger.
Here is an article that will help on, how to identify Juvenile Arthritis:
Joint Pain and stiffness: Kids often complain of pain in joints or muscles, particularly after a long day of strenuous activities. But a child who has juvenile arthritis may complain of joint pains and stiffness right after he/she wakes up in the morning. Their knees, feet, hands, neck or jaw joints may be extremely stiff and painful. The young child may often struggle to perform regular movements or activities. But, the pain may tend to subside as they start moving for the day.
Unlike pain caused due to an injury or other illnesses, juvenile arthritis-related pain may emerge slowly and affects joints on both sides of the body(systemic).
Swelling: Swelling or redness of the skin around painful joints is a symptom of inflammation. A child may grieve that a joint feels hot, or warm to the touch. The swelling may persist for several days, or come and go. Unlike swelling that happens due to fall or injury during play, the swelling caused due to arthritis persist for a longer time and this symptom is a definite sign that the child has juvenile arthritis.
Fevers: While children commonly have temperatures due to common infectious diseases like flu, a child with juvenile arthritis may have frequent fevers accompanied by malaise or fatigue. Fevers may come on suddenly, even at the same time of day, and then disappear after a short time.
Rashes: At times children suffering from juvenile arthritis may experience skin rashes. Many children develop rashes that range from poison ivy to eczema or even an allergic reaction to a drug.
Certain rashes may not be itchy or oozing,but may continue for days or weeks. But, if you notice faint, pink rashes over knuckles, across the cheeks and bridge of the nose, or on the trunk, legs and arms, this signals to a severe rheumatic disease.
Several rheumatic diseases like juvenile psoriatic arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic arthritis, or Still’s disease affect children, even when they are too young to speak about what’s bothering them. In such cases, it’s necessary not to assume the symptoms as temporary, and get a proper diagnosis from a rheumatologist. Early treatment can prevent severe and permanent damage to your child’s joints and enable your child to live an active, full childhood despite juvenile arthritis.
Juvenile arthritis in any form affects a child overall well being. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a rheumatology specialist periodically to keep a check on rheumatoid arthritis.
Department of Rheumatology
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