Symptoms and Signs of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis)

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 11/4/2021

Doctor's Notes on Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis)

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (formerly referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA) refers to a group of disease characterized by chronic joint inflammation that initially affected a child before 16 years of age. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) includes the five main forms of childhood arthritis: pauciarticular, polyarticular, systemic, enthesitis-related, and psoriatic arthritis.

The most common symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) include

  • joint pain,
  • warmth,
  • stiffness, and
  • swelling that may be more severe in the morning.

Other symptoms of JIA include

  • loss of joint function and reduced range of motion,
  • limping,
  • joint deformity,
  • eye irritation/pain/redness (uveitis or iritis),
  • eye sensitivity to light,
  • recurrent fevers that may “spike” several times in one day,
  • salmon-colored rash,
  • psoriasis rash in those with the psoriatic form of JIA,
  • muscle aches similar to aches that accompany the flu,
  • lymph node swelling (“swollen glands”),
  • weight loss, and
  • growth problems.

What Is the Treatment for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis)?

The treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis includes medications, therapy, and surgery. These methods, when combined together, treat the painful symptoms and structural issues that arise from juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

These multi-modal treatments include:

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or “DMARDs” (also known as “biologics”) are also widely used in treatment of JIA. These DMARDs include:

Doctors might also recommend:

  • Physical therapy to decrease stiffness and increase mobility
  • Surgery to fix orthopedic problems

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.