Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most common arthritic disease in children and occurs in approximately 1 in 500. But what does JIA really mean?
Juvenile= referring to children under the age of 16-18
Idiopathic= the cause is unknown
Arthritis= conditions that cause joint pain and inflammation
The main symptoms of JIA are:
- Joint pain, swelling, tenderness, stiffness, redness and warmth
- Fatigue, fevers, loss of appetite or weight
- Skin rashes
- Inflammation of the eyes
There are six JIA subtypes known as:
- Causes inflammation in one or more joints in the body
- Often accompanied by high temperatures
- Skin rashes
- Arthritis in 4 or fewer joints – typically large joints like knees or ankles
- Children with this condition are more likely to get uveitis (chronic eye inflammation)
Inflammation in 5 or more joints- often small joints of the fingers or hands
- Can incorporate rheumatoid arthritis but doesn’t always
Juvenile psoriatic arthritis
Involves arthritis that occurs in combination with a skin disorder called psoriasis
- The skin condition can occur many years before any joint symptoms
- Swelling and pain in one or more joints
Enthesitis- related JIA
- Tenderness where the bone meets a tendon, ligament or other connective tissue
- This tenderness accompanies joint inflammation in parts of the body
- More common in boys and usually between he ages of 8-15
- A term used for JIA that does not fit into any of the above categories
The goals of treatment are to prevent pain & joint damage and to maintain muscle & joint function and normal growth. As physiotherapists we can play a crucial role by;
- Helping maintain joint ROM
- Preventing contractures
- Providing access to assistive equipment
- Access to hydrotherapy
- Maintaining function
Physical activity is essential for good health and wellbeing in the total population. It has been found to be extremely important for children suffering JIA. It is found to
- Relieve stiffness, improve joint mobility and range of movement
- Maintain and increase muscle and bone strength
- Improve physical function.
There is definitely some aspects to be aware of when choosing a sport while suffering from JIA, these include;
- Non-contact sports will be best to reduce the risk of joint injury or damage.
- Low impact such as cycling, yoga & swimming are ideal
What to do now?
If you or your child is suffering from JIA give us a call at Generation Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All our of clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. So what are you waiting for, call us on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.