Signs of juvenile arthritis

It’s often thought that arthritis is a disease of the elderly. But in fact, many children develop juvenile arthritis. Some of these patients will outgrow their diagnosis, while others require lifelong medical care for this disease. There are quite a few types of juvenile arthritis, and several of them fall into the category of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. No matter what your child’s diagnosis is, the orthopedic specialists at Riverside Community Hospital can help your family overcome health challenges.

Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis
“Systemic” means that a disease or its effects aren’t limited to just one area of the body.

Often, a persistent fever is the first sign of systemic arthritis. Children may have a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The fever may do any of the following:

  • Occur daily for a period of time
  • Spike in the evening and then drop within a few hours
  • Occur in the morning
  • Occur twice daily
  • Continue throughout the day

The fever is accompanied by a rash that typically develops on the patient’s arms, legs or trunk. The rash looks pale, flat and pink, and it usually isn’t itchy. In most cases, this pink rash will last no longer than a few minutes or a few hours, during the time when the fever spikes.

Oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Oligoarticular arthritis is more common than the systemic type. It affects fewer than five joints, causing localized symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

Children with oligoarticular arthritis are also at risk of a complication called uveitis. This is an inflammatory eye disorder that requires early diagnosis and treatment to prevent permanent vision loss.

Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Polyarticular arthritis is similar to oligoarticular arthritis. However, it affects five or more joints. Children may have symptoms in the small joints of the hands and fingers, but some may also experience pain of the jaw joints and larger, weight-bearing joints.

Riverside Community Hospital maintains an enduring commitment to healthcare excellence. Since 1901, our compassionate doctors and nurses have been providing patient-focused, family-centered care to residents in Riverside and throughout the Inland Empire. Call a registered nurse at our state-of-the-art hospital at (951) 788-3463.

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