Symptoms of juvenile arthritis can vary from mild to severe and it also varies depending on thetype of arthritis. Some children may have no symptoms at all whereas some can have severe and disabling pain and any joint in the body can get affected by arthritis.Some of the signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis include:
- joint stiffness, more in the morning and after rest or nap
- pain, swelling, and tenderness of the joints
- limping (younger children and infant may seem cranky or refuse to walk, or the child may appear clumsy and may not be able to perform motor skills he or she recently learned.)
- persistent fever (may be low or high grade)
- weight loss
- eye redness, eye pain, and/or blurred vision.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is the commonest type of JAthat persists for months or years at a time. Some of the common signs and symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Pain: Joint pain especially more severe in the morning (after sleeping through the night) or after a period of rest.Small children may not complain of pain but may seem unusually cranky or reluctant to crawl or walk. Pain is caused due to inflammation or swelling of the joint and surrounding tissues. The severity of pain can vary from mild to severe.
- Limp: You may notice that your child may limp or find it difficult to walk in the morning or after rest.
- Swelling: Swelling is more obvious around bigger joints such as knee, ankle but the small joints of the hands and feet also can be affected. In some children the joint may appear red, swollen, tender and warm.
- Stiffness: The child may appear more clumsy than usual at times like in the mornings or after a nap. It may be caused due to stiffness of the joint/joints. Stiffness reduces the range of motion of a joint; it is most noticeable in the morning and gradually improves later in the day.
Based on the number of joints affected, signs and symptoms and results of blood tests juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis is classified as;
- Oligoarthritis: Oligoarthritis type of JIA comprises approximately 40 percent of all the new JIA patients. In these patients four or fewer joints are involved within the first six months.Eye inflammation occurs most commonly in this type of JIA and it can even lead to blindness in rare cases.
- Polyarthritis: Children with involvementof five or more joints during the first six months are considered to have polyarthritis type of JIA. Signs and symptoms in this variety of JIA are usually limited to the joints.
- Systemic: About 10 per cent of patients with JIA are diagnosed with systemic type of JIA. In this besides joint involvement the child has symptoms such as fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes and involvement of organs such as lungs, heart.
Like other forms of arthritis, children with JIA can have remission and exacerbation of the symptoms. The remission can last for months whereas some children can have persistent symptoms.If your child has joint pain or any other problem related to the joints consult a doctor as early and appropriate treatment can improves prognosis and can prevent disability.