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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Symptoms

The most common symptoms of all forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) include:

  • Joint pain and swelling. They may come and go, but they are most often persistent.
  • Joint stiffness in the morning.
  • Irritability, refusal to walk, or protecting or guarding a joint. You might notice your child limping or trying not to use a certain joint.
  • Often unpredictable changes in symptoms, from periods with no symptoms (remission) to flare-ups.

Even though pain is a common symptom of JIA, your child may not be able to describe the pain. Or he or she may be used to the pain. To know if your child is in pain, look for changes such as stiff movements, rubbing a joint or muscle, or avoiding movement.

Other symptoms vary depending on which type of JIA your child has.

Systemic JIA can cause fever spikes and rash.

  • The fever usually reaches 103 °F (39.5 °C) to 106 °F (41 °C) once or twice a day. It falls to normal between spikes.
  • The rash is spotty, flat, and sometimes faint red or pink. It may occur with the fever. It may be on the torso, face, palms, soles of the feet, and armpits. The rash often comes and goes. It may appear late in the day or in the early morning. It may also be brought on by warm baths or by rubbing or scratching the skin.

Other conditions with symptoms similar to JIA include growing pains, overuse, injury, bone infection, and certain inflammatory diseases. Many conditions can cause painful, stiff joints in children. Most often, occasional joint pain in children is related to an injury or aggravating factors, such as repetitive overuse in sports activities. JIA is a fairly uncommon cause of these symptoms.

    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: January 30, 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.
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