Childhood Arthritis: Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Nowadays, even children between the ages of 2 and 16 are experiencing gout, which is quite unusual. Typically, arthritis is more commonly associated with individuals over the age of 60. However, children and young adults can also be vulnerable to various forms of arthritis.

One such condition is juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which primarily affects children. This problem can impact a child’s bone development, making it crucial to address it promptly. Dr. Ram Manohar, an orthopedic surgeon at Lohia Hospital in Lucknow, discusses this issue with Sachin Awasthi.

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a chronic condition that can impact any joint in the body and primarily affects children. It typically affects children under the age of 16, with girls being more susceptible than boys.

This pediatric arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Normally, joints contain a fluid that helps them move smoothly. When the protective cartilage in a joint rubs against each other, it can cause pain. Pain worsens when there’s a reduction in this joint fluid. If the synovium tissue in the joint begins to produce excessive fluid, it leads to swelling and stiffness in the joint. This inflammation can spread to other parts of the body, including the eyes. If not treated promptly, it can potentially hinder the child’s growth.

There Are Several Types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

Children with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to developing gout. It’s important to understand that arthritis isn’t a single disease but rather a term that encompasses over a hundred different joint-related conditions.

Oligoarthritis: This condition is known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), which typically affects fewer than five joints in the body, often involving the knees, ankles, and elbows. Uveitis, an inflammation of the eye, can also be associated with JIA. It’s worth noting that oligoarthritis, a subtype of JIA, is more common in girls than boys.

Polyarthritis: A subtype of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), involves the inflammation of more than five joints, including smaller joints like those in the neck and jaw. Similar to oligoarthritis, it’s observed to be more common in girls than boys.

Psoriatic arthritis: It is a type of arthritis that can cause nail discoloration. Children with psoriatic arthritis may also experience skin issues such as rashes, red spots, or sores on their body in addition to joint symptoms.

Enthesitis-associated arthritis: It is also known as spondyloarthropathy, primarily affects the spine and hips and is more common in boys over the age of seven. This type of arthritis can also impact the eyes, leading to eye pain and redness.

Systemic arthritis(chronic arthritis): It occurs in 10 to 20 percent of children. It is a systemic disease that can affect the entire body. Children with systemic arthritis may experience persistent high fever and develop a rash that often spreads across the body, arms, and legs along with the fever. This type of arthritis can also affect the heart and lymph nodes and can occur in both boys and girls.

Common Causes of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

The precise causes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are not yet fully understood. However, it is believed to have a genetic component:

Swelling of the Joints-If a child experiences swelling, warmth, or pain in or around their joints, it’s possible that they may have arthritis.

Morning Stiffness-If a child limps while walking in the morning or complains of joint pain, these could be early signs of arthritis, which can become more serious if left untreated.

Fever With Joint Pain- Viral infections can also cause fever and joint pain. These include Dengue and Chikungunya. Sometimes it can also be a sign of blood cancer.

Rash With Joint Pain – prompt recognition and treatment required. This problem is caused by viral fever or infection in blood cells.

Preventions: It cannot be prevented. Arthritis in children can be controlled through lifestyle and diet changes, exercise and yoga

Enhancing Children’s Joint Strength:

  • It is recommended to consume 1-2 liters of water daily.
  • Water intake can alleviate discomfort and help alleviate constipation.
  • Incorporate foods that are abundant in vitamins and minerals into your diet.
  • Make sure to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily meals.
  • Aim for a 30-minute walk at least 5 days a week.
  • Foster healthy habits in children from an early age.

Preventing Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

To address this, Dr. Sachin recommends a combination of treatments, including medication, physiotherapy, dietary guidance, regular physical activity, weight management, and adequate rest.

This disease cannot be identified through medical tests, but prompt treatment can lead to a full recovery. Failure to treat it may result in thinning of the child’s bones and disruption of their daily activities.

Therapy-Physical therapy plays a crucial role in maintaining the child’s joint flexibility and muscle health. It’s similar to exercise and helps safeguard and strengthen the child’s joints. Activities like yoga and gentle exercises are particularly beneficial.

Anusha Aggarwal

My name is Anusha Aggarwal. With a deep fascination for the science behind health, hair care, skin care, and body care, I'm a dedicated writer committed to helping readers achieve optimal wellness. Through years of research and personal experience, I provide expert insights into the latest trends and techniques in the beauty and wellness.