You may be surprised to learn that arthritis is not exclusively an ailment of the aged. In the United States, there are about 300,000 kids diagnosed with some form of juvenile arthritis. Since July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, we’re putting the spotlight on kids with joint inflammation.

What does juvenile arthritis look like?

Symptoms of JA may include:

  • stiff, swollen joints, especially in the morning
  • achy, painful joints
  • muscle weakness around the joints
  • joints that are warm to the touch
  • swollen lymph nodes

Parents should be aware a child may be too young to recognize and complain of joint pain or stiffness. You may notice such a child is generally irritable. They may have difficulty walking if the affected joints include the feet, ankles, or knees. When a child can’t walk or has no interest in playing, seek help from the child’s pediatrician or expert podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm.

Other Juvenile Arthritis Symptoms

Juvenile arthritis can also cause eye problems such as dryness and light sensitivity, diarrhea and bloating, skin rashes, fever, fatigue, and, in rare cases, Kawasaki disease (associated with COVID-19 in children).

Juvenile Arthritis Can be Treated

A diagnosis of juvenile arthritis is concerning, but there are effective treatments available. Steroids and other medications reduce inflammation and prevent permanent damage to the joints. Targeted physical therapy can also help. Kids with JA can and do lead to healthy, productive lives.

Foot problems in children, whether they stem from arthritis or some other issue such as a bone fracture or flat arches, have the best treatment outcomes when caught early. If you have concerns about your child’s feet or ankles, contact Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax County, Virginia. Call our Centreville office at (703) 996-3000 or contact us online for an appointment.

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