Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a disease that causes inflammation of the tissue that lines the inside of the joints in children who are 16 or younger. Juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease that researchers believe is linked to environmental triggers, certain infections, and genetics, per WebMD. There are six types of juvenile arthritis — read about them here.
Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis
The symptoms of juvenile arthritis can have a significant impact on young people’s lives and vary based on the type of JIA. According to Healthline, here are a few common symptoms of this disease:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Swelling and tenderness in joints
- Loss of fine dexterity, particularly in the hands
- Joint damage (depending upon the length of time JIA has been active)
- Limping (due to joint pain in hips, knees, or ankles)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Every JIA sufferer will experience a different set of symptoms. It is critical that children with arthritis get treatment from a doctor. Only a doctor can diagnose this disease.
Can Physiotherapy Treat Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?
Physiotherapy is an excellent treatment option for those who have arthritis, no matter their age. Many physiotherapists are experienced in treating JIA and helping children with this disease stay active.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is very important for those with juvenile arthritis. Speaking to arthritis sufferers, 8 Symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis stated, “Stay active to reset your body’s sleep cycle. Exercise to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Certain exercises can also strengthen the muscles around your joints, diminish pain, and help you maintain flexibility.”
Exercise is at the heart of physiotherapy, and a physiotherapist can help youths with arthritis get active again and start feeling better. A physiotherapist helps patients “maintain joint function and strength, teach joint protection, energy conservation, (and) minimize muscle pain,” stated Physiopedia. The source also said,
“Physical therapy is an important part of the treatment of JIA. It is important for the child to remain active… Regular activity and general exercise programs help to maintain range of motion in affective joints, build and maintain strength, maintain function and can even help with symptom reduction.
Physiotherapists often work with other healthcare professionals, such as occupational therapists and rheumatologists, to ensure patients receive the most effective care.
What To Do If Your Child Has Signs of Arthritis
If your child exhibits symptoms of JIA, it’s important to get him or her to a healthcare professional who can diagnose the condition, such as a physiotherapist, general practitioner, or rheumatologist.
Looking for a physiotherapy clinic near Winnipeg? Contact Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics to make an appointment. We would love to hear from you.