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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Range-of-Motion Exercises - Topic Overview

Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) must do regular range-of-motion exercises to prevent contractures and to maintain joint range and flexibility.

If your child is 4 years old or younger, an adult will need to move the child's joints through the range-of-motion exercises. This is called passive range of motion. The adult will gently move the joints from a bent position to a straightened position several times. Range-of-motion exercises may be painful during a flare of arthritis. So it is very important to be gentle. Exercises should be done at least twice a day. And they should be reviewed now and then by a physical therapist.

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Older children can do the exercises themselves but may still need adult supervision. Children need support and encouragement from the family to continue exercises.

Also, encourage your child to participate in low-impact sports, such as swimming, biking, or rowing. These aerobic exercises are good for the heart and lungs, build strength, and keep joints flexible. Doing activities like these with other children helps improve a child's ability to function and builds self-confidence. It may also reduce pain, disability, and the need for medicines.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 05, 2012
    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.
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