Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), formerly called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) or juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), is a disease that
affects children age 16 and younger. It causes inflamed, swollen, stiff, and
often painful joints. JIA may affect one or more joints and can cause a
The cause of JIA is unknown. Most experts
believe it may be caused by a combination of the following things:
An overly active
immune system that inappropriately attacks joint
tissues, as if they were foreign substances. Viral or bacterial infections are
a suspected trigger of the autoimmune process.
Genetic factors that make a child's immune system more
likely to react inappropriately
Common symptoms of JIA include:
Joint pain and swelling that may come and go but
are most often persistent.
Joint stiffness in the
Irritability, refusal to walk, or protection or guarding
of a joint. You might notice your child limping or avoiding the use of a
Often unpredictable changes in symptoms, from
periods with no symptoms (remission) to flare-ups.
A child with JIA will likely be treated with a combination of
medicines and physical therapy. The goals of medical treatment are to reduce
your child's joint pain and to prevent disability.
information, see the topic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics