What is juvenile knee arthritis?
Arthritis and synovitis are general conditions that involve inflammation and joint pain. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis mostly affect patients who are 50-years-old or ages after 50. Unfortunately, there are forms of arthritis that affect patients in their youth. Younger patients may suffer from juvenile arthritis. Juvenile arthritis is like osteoarthritis except it affects patients who are usually 16-years-old or younger. This condition can affect any joint including the knees.
What causes juvenile knee arthritis?
The painful knees that children feel from juvenile arthritis is due to the inflammation and swelling around the joints. There is not a direct cause that links to juvenile knee arthritis beside genetics. Some matter within a child’s genes leads to juvenile arthritis. Some studies show that JA can also start after an infection or virus enters the body.
Like rheumatoid arthritis, the body cannot naturally protect itself from this type of chronic knee pain. An outside bacterium may alter the immune system for younger patients where the knee joints begin to suffer from juvenile arthritis. It’s abnormal for the joints or cartilage to weaken from overuse in younger patients. These indirect causes exist, but they may be complicated for children to fully understand.
How do I know if my child has juvenile knee arthritis?
As a parent or guardian, it is important to track your child’s growth. Growing pains are common for children during their pre-teenage years, but chronic knee pain and swelling could relate to juvenile arthritis. Recognize symptoms in your child that are from growth spurts and which are from juvenile arthritis. Common juvenile knee arthritis symptoms include the following list:
- Child begins to limp or favor one leg
- Child does not eat or has no appetite
- Child loses sleep or feels tired throughout the day
- Chronic knee pain and aches
- Knee feels stiff or tight in the mornings
- Swelling around the knee that lasts for weeks
How can my child prevent juvenile knee arthritis?
Majority of children may not understand juvenile arthritis. This condition can be complex and frustrating to a person of any age. Younger patients can experience chronic knee pain while parents feel helpless. Since the condition does not have a direct link, the best way to prevent JA is with an overall healthy lifestyle. Parents can practice good health and pass this lifestyle on to their children:
- Eat a well-balanced diet full of vitamins
- Get regular exercise for all joints
- Sleep eight hours each night
- Stretch every morning and before physical activity