Arthritis in Children

Approximately 300,000 children suffer from juvenile arthritis. Unlike arthritis in adults, swollen or painful joints do not only categorize juvenile arthritis. Instead, juvenile arthritis can take many different forms and can produce many different symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems and skin and eye irritation.


  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: This is the most common form of juvenile arthritis. This condition will develop before age sixteen in children and is characterized by swelling of the joints that lasts for more than six weeks.
  • Juvenile Lupus: Lupus is an immune system disease that affects the joints, skin, kidneys, and blood.
  • Juvenile Scleroderma: Scleroderma is a condition that causes patients skin to harden. This disease can affect internal organs including the heart and lungs and lead to serious complications.
  • Kawasaki Disease: This is an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the blood vessels and causes swelling and redness of the hands and feet. The inflammation cause by Kawasaki disease can often lead to inflammation of the joints as well.
  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that causes fatigue and soreness in many part of the body including muscles and joints.


Like arthritis in adults, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. There are, however, certain types of medication that may help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and alleviate inflammation and pain.

  • Arthritis inflammation and pain can be treated with over the counter and prescription anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications. These medications are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Disease modifying drugs may also be used to treat arthritis symptoms. The goal of these medications is to curb joint damage that is associated with an overactive immune system.
  • Corticosteroids can be used to reduce inflammation if NSAID medications are not effective on the patient.


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works