Any or all of these blood tests may be normal in children with JIA.
The health care provider may place a small needle into a swollen joint to remove fluid. This can help to find the cause of the arthritis. It can also help relieve pain. The provider may inject steroids into the joint to help reduce swelling.
Regular eye exam by an ophthalmologist - This should be done even if there are no eye symptoms.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be enough to control symptoms when only a small number of joints are involved.
Corticosteroids may be used for more severe flare-ups to help control symptoms.
Children who have arthritis in many joints, or who have fever, rash, and swollen glands may need other medicines. These are called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). They can help reduce swelling in the joints or body. DMARDs include:
Biologic drugs, such as etanercept, infliximab, and related drugs
Children with JIA need to stay active.
Exercise will help keep their muscles and joints strong and mobile.
Walking, bicycling, and swimming may be good activities.
Children should learn to warm up before exercising.
Talk to the doctor or physical therapist about exercises to do when your child is having pain.
Children who have sadness or anger about their arthritis may need extra support.
Some children with JIA may need surgery, including joint replacement.
Children with only a few affected joints may have no symptoms for a long period.
In many children, the disease will become inactive and cause very little joint damage.
The severity of the disease depends on the number of affected joints. It is less likely that symptoms will go away in these cases. These children more often have chronic (long-term) pain, disability, and problems at school.
Complications may include:
Wearing away or destruction of joints (can occur in people with more severe JIA)
Symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
New symptoms develop
There is no known prevention for JIA.
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Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.