What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)?

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a form of arthritis that occurs in children and adolescents (juveniles) without any specific cause (idiopathic). It usually starts at the age of 7 to 12 but can also occur in adolescents as old as 15 years of age and in infants. The condition can last for more than six weeks.

Symptoms of JIA

Dr. Prashant Arya, an orthopedic doctor in Newtown, lists some of the symptoms of JIA.

  • Morning stiffness and joint pain – You may notice your child limping especially in the morning or after a nap
  • Swelling – You may notice swelling of large joints such as the knee.
  • Presence of high Rheumatoid Factor in blood
  • Fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes – In some cases, high fever along with swollen lymph nodes or a rash may occur. It usually gets worse in the evenings.


Causes of JIA

A child suffers from JIA when their body’s immune system turns against itself and attacks its cells and tissues. The exact reason behind it is unknown. However, it is believed that both heredity and environment play a role, says the best Orthopedic Doctor in Salt Lake.

Types of JIA

  • Systemic JIA – Systemic JIA cause arthritis in one or more joints along with fever and rash that come and go. Children with this condition may also develop swollen lymph nodes and problems with their blood, heart, and lungs.
  • Polyarticular JIA – A child suffering from polyarticular JIA has arthritis in 5 or more joints. They also might have developed eye inflammation (uveitis).
  • Oligoarticular JIA – This condition causes arthritis in less than five joints. Gradually, more joints may get affected in some children. They may also develop uveitis.
  • Enthesitis-Related JIA – Enthesitis refers to the inflammation of tendons and ligaments. Children with this condition have inflammation where tendons and ligaments connect to the bone; and arthritis. They may also have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and uveitis.
  • Psoriatic JIA – Psoriasis refers to a skin disorder where thick, red plaques grow on the skin. Psoriatic JIA occurs in children who have psoriasis or have a close relative or family member with psoriasis. They may develop uveitis, swelling of fingers, toes, and changes in their nails.
  • Undifferentiated JIA – A JIA condition can be called undifferentiated when someone’s symptoms don’t match with any of the above types or when it falls into more than one of those types.

Complications resulting from JIA

JIA can result in several serious complications. But keeping a close watch on your child’s condition and seeking medical attention at the right time can significantly reduce the risk of the following complications:

  • Eye problems – Some forms of JIA can cause Iridocyclitis – an inflammation of the iris and other muscles and tissues of the eye. If left untreated, it may lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness. Take your children for regular checkups to an ophthalmologist as eye inflammation frequently occurs without symptoms.


  • Growth problems – JIA can cause interference in your child’s growth and bone development. Some medications used to treat JIA can also inhibit growth.

If you notice any symptoms of JIA in your child, consult Dr. Prashant Arya, the best orthopedist in Newtown.