Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Topic Overview

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 generalized illness.

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 morning.
  • Irritability, refusal to walk, or protection or guarding of a joint. You might notice your child limping or avoiding the use of a certain joint.
  • 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.

For more information, see the topic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Mature woman exercise at home
    Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
    feet with gout
    Quiz yourself.
    woman in pain
    One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
    senior couple walking
    Can you keep your RA from progressing?
    xray of knees with osteoarthritis
    close up of man wearing dress shoes
    feet with gout
    close up of red shoe in shoebox
    two male hands
    Woman massaging her neck
    5 Lupus Risk Factors