Arthritis is usually associated with older people, but sadly, children can also be affected by this autoimmune disease. Juvenile arthritis is a swelling of the synovium – the tissue that lines the inside of the joints - in children aged 16 or younger, and can affect their movement. 


While there is no exact cause as to why it develops in children, researchers believe it may be related to genetics, infections or even environmental triggers.


However, there are actually five different types of juvenile arthritis that children can develop:

  1. Systemic arthritis
  2. Oligoarthritis
  3. Polyarthritis
  4. Psoriatic arthritis
  5. Enthesitis-related arthritis


1. Symptoms to look out for:

Juvenile arthritis can be difficult to diagnose as everyone experiences different symptoms, but, there are a number of signs to look out for:  

  • Joint stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness in the joints
  • Persistent fever
  • Weight loss
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Rash
  • Limping
  • Not being able to perform motor skills that they previously could

2. How to relieve the symptoms:

The main objective of treatment is to relive pain, reduce swelling, increase joint mobility and prevent complications.


Depending on the type of arthritis that your child has, the following treatments may be issued:

  • Nonsterodial ant-inflammatory drugs – to treat pain and swelling.
  • Slow-acting anti-rheumatic drugs – treat pain and swelling over time.
  • Corticosteroids – to treat pain and swelling; an injection is administered into the affected joint.
  • Other non-medicated ways can also help:
  • Exercising; swimming, dancing or walking
  • Keeping your child warm, putting their clothes on the radiator first thing in the morning
  • Moving around; not spending too long in one position
  • Maintaining good posture
  • Placing a hot water bottle on the painful area
  • Eating a healthy, nutritious diet
  • Getting adequate sleep

Always talk to your child's GP if you have any concerns or if they can't seem to find any relief from the pain.